Big Blend's Radio & TV Magazine Mar/Apr 2016

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Historic Coronado Motor Hotel Yuma's Destination Hotel Celebrating Over 75 Years of Tradition Where The Past Makes History

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233 4th Avenue, Yuma, AZ 85364 Toll Free: (877) 234-5567 Local: (928) 783-4453 PAGE 2

Contents… 6. EDITORS BLOCK

TOAST TO THE ARTS 8. Origins of Celtic Art – Artist Victoria Chick explores the history of Celtic art, symbols and design. 11. National Parks Arts Foundation – Executive Director Tanya Ortega explains the Artist-in-Residency programs NPAF hosts in various National Parks. 12. A Last Glance – Photographer Edward Grazda captures historic trading posts of the four corners region of the American southwest. 14. The Cubans – Photographer Jay Seldin covers the places and people of Cuba. 16. Singer-songwriter Interviews – – Jeff Kossack’s new album ‘Less is the New Black’, Lisa Dawn Miller’s new EP ‘Hello You,’ Tim McNary’s new EP ‘Above The Trees,’ and Laney Jones’ new self-titled album. 18. Stage & Screen – Yerington Theatre for the Arts in Nevada, Hollywood History with Steve Schneickert.

RANTS, RAVES & ROCK ‘N ROLL 20. The Committee – Politcal thriller by bestselling author Terry E. Hill. 21. Music Videos – #FireIsOurs by Makana, ‘House of the Rising Sun’ by Johnny Mastro & Mama’s Boys. 22. Rockin’ Interviews – Blues guitarist Daniel Castro, Elvis impersonator Scot Bruce.

CREATIVE CELEBRATIONS 24. Leprechaun Juice – St. Patrick’s Day Cocktail from Tyler Johnston. 26. Brunch Party! Food, wine and party planning tips from Ruth & Howard Milstein. 28. Six Spring Brunch Recipes – Peach Bellini Cocktail by Jeremy Contreras, Creamy Coconut Polenta by Linda Brewer, Baked Brie by Donna George, Date Crystal Baked Grapefruit by Debbie Mansheim, Monte de Julian Sandwich by Chef Jeremy Manley, Tiramisu Crepes by Patricia Harvey.

EAT, DRINK & BE MERRY 32. Notably Montana – Linda Kissam eats and tours the hot trends in Western Montana. 36. Viva Vegan Cooking – Three tasty plant based recipes: Faux Calamari by Chef Ivan Flowers, Smokey Vegan Vegetable Soup by Chef Ken Drew, Tofu Bourguignon by Leah Launey.


Contents… GARDEN GOSSIP 39. PHS Philadelphia Flower Show – Sam Lemheney explains this year’s show theme ‘Explore America: 100 Years of the National Park Service.’ 40. San Benito County Garden Getaway – Wine, Roses and Wildflowers in central California.

NATURE CONNECTION 44. Spring Nature Trippin’ - From San Diego’s Coastline to the Colorado River in Yuma, Arizona. 54. Three New California Desert National Monuments – David Lamfrom, National Parks Conservation Association, photo spread and interview about Mojave Trails NM, Sand to Snow NM, and Castle Mountains NM. 58. Climate Ride & Parks in Peril - Mark Wenzler discusses the National Parks Conservation Association’s focus on Southwestern National Parks in Peril, and Caeli Quinn explains how Climate Ride tackles Climate Change. 59. Sustainable Islands – Panel discussion with: Makana slack key guitarist and activist, Les McCabe – Executive Director of Global Green USA, Carlisle Richardson – author of ‘Island Journeys.’ 60. Keeping Wildlife in the Wild – Adam Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA, discussion lion and elephant conservation issues.

VACATION STATION 62. Spring Sequoia Adventure - Five fun experiences in Tulare County, California. 68. Seattle, Washington – Linda Kissam shares her best experiences. 72. Izaak Walton Inn – Eva Eldridge enjoys a historic stay in Essex, Montana. 74. Fabulous France – Hilarie Larson shares a more relaxing and engaging way to enjoy France. 77. Flower of Scotland Tour – Musical group tour through Scotland with the Highland Way Celtic Band. 78. Destination Tahiti – Henry Biernacki visits an island paradise. 80. Gear Up & Go! Product spotlight for photographers and travelers including the Cooper Collection by Tenba Camera Bag, Tamrac® Anvil Backpacks, Znzi Travel Stuff Pillow, Wraps Headphones. PAGE 4

Contents… VACATION STATION Continued 84. A Pink Suitcase – Editor Janna Graber discusses the new women’s travel anthology by World Traveler Press.

SUCCESS EXPRESS 85. Ladies Happy Hour – Panel discussion on success, with travel writer Linda Kissam, winemaker Merrill Bonarrigo, and green beauty expert Paige Padgett. 86. Independent Contractors – Are You Sure? Attorney S. Ward Heinrichs outlines the potential liability issues of hiring independent contractors.

QUALITY OF LIFE 88. Community Alliance for Youth Success – Follow up on Youth Success Week in Oceanside, CA, and panel discussion on Youth Education with: Bobbi DePorter, Stedman Graham, Dr. Duane Coleman, Margaret Malek, Helice Bridges, Mark Reardon. 92. Two Men on a Mission – Dennis Yang completes his Great Reading Run around the perimeter of the USA, and Jim “Palomino” Ostdick starts his 4000 mile hiking journey for trail systems. 93. Generation X Group - Phill Morris and Roy Beasley talk about the 1st Annual ‘From the Hood to The Woods’ Youth Excursion to Yosemite. 94. Managing Your Doctor - The Smart Patient’s Guide to Getting Effective Affordable Healthcare by Patrick Neustatter, M.D. 95. Copper Connection – Rock Talk with Marilee Strech.

WAY BACK WHEN 96. American Airfields in England – Glynn Burrows highlights American Airfields in Norfolk UK, during WWII. 99. Freedom Fighters of Exeter - Mickey Hirni talks about the men who served in WWII in Exeter, CA. 100. The Tuskegee Airmen – Alan Spears, National Parks Conservation Association, discusses the history of the Tuskegee Airmen and the Tuskegee National Historic Site at Moton Field, Alabama. 102. Colonel Charles Young – Dana Dierkes, Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks, talks about the first African American National Park Superintendent. 103. Stonewall – Chad Lord, National Parks Conservation Association, explains the campaign for a new National Monument dedicated to LGBT history. PAGE 5

EDITORS BLOCK Spring has already sprung for many of us in the warmer regions of the country, and this March-April 2016 issue celebrates this colorful and vibrant season with a variety of brunch and vegetarian recipes, garden and nature-centric trips and stops, along with a variety of travel destinations that range from Montana and California to France and Tahiti. With National Parks Week, Earth Day and Arbor Day occurring in mid-late April, we cover Climate Change issues facing our parks around the country and islands around the world, as well as wildlife Front Cover: The Flower Fields in Carlsbad, CA. conservation regarding elephants and lions. We’re Photo by Rick Seymore. thrilled about the recent designation of the 410th National Park unit, along with the two other National Monuments in California’s Desert region. This protects over 1.8 million acres of public lands and diverse desert habitat. This issue also covers music and the arts, youth success, business and law, health, aviation history, and much more. Big Blend Radio streams live online on Wednesdays at 4pm PT / 7pm ET, and Sundays at 11am PT / 2pm ET. Listen to the live or on-demand episodes on Be sure to subscribe to our monthly Big Blend eNewsletter to get your copy of Big Blend Radio & TV Magazine as well as the upcoming Spirit of America Magazine in your inbox, as well as news about our Big Blend Spirit of America Tour, our quest to visit and cover all 410 National Park units and their gateway communities. Happy Spring! Nancy J. Reid and Lisa D. Smith Big Blend’s mother-daughter publishing, radio and travel team; along with Priscilla - Big Blend’s pink sock monkey travel mascot.

This magazine is developed by Big Blend Magazine™. copyrighted since 1998. No part of it may be reproduced for any reason, without written permission from Big Blend Magazine, P.O. Box 87633, Tucson, AZ 85754-7633. Opinions expressed by contributors are not necessarily that of this publication or any of its staff. We reserve the right to edit submittals. All subject matter is intended for general information only and not to be taken as personal advice in any matter. Although every effort is made to be accurate, we cannot be held responsible for inaccuracies or plagiarized copy submitted to us by advertisers or contributors. PAGE 6

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By Victoria Chick, artist and early 19th & 20th century print collector The roots of Celtic Art are very old, yet can still be seen to influence the arts of calligraphy and jewelry today. The motifs and decorative patterns related of what we call Celtic Art can be found in a wide geographic area from the New Grange tomb in Ireland dating from 3300 B.C. (pre-dating the Great Pyramids of Egypt), to the Scythian art found as far east as Siberia dating from the 7th century B.C., and in nearly every European country in between. Exceptions are those countries along the Mediterranean coast where the influences of Classical civilization were strong. More than one theory exists as to who the Celts were. Language and culture seem to tie together the people of more than one location. The most prevalent theory is that as Celtic tribes moved across northern Europe, the Bronze Age was changing to the Iron Age. Metalwork was the forte of Celtic artisans. Archeological finds in Hallstadt, Austria of Celtic weapons and jewelry show strong symmetrical design. Interlaced knots, spirals, and fret patterns are typical, with some abstract bird shapes. The early Celtic tribes left no traces of painting or sculpture. Their art was practical and made to be transported.

Book of Kells - Christ in Majesty

An important archeological site at Le Tene, Switzerland, worked from 1857 – 1885, unearthed some 2500 metal objects of Celtic workmanship done from 400 to 300 B.C. This rich find was due to a change from cremation to burial. The Celts placed objects into the graves they thought the deceased would need in the afterlife. Gold and silver collars, metal shields, bowls, and cauldrons are some of the objects found at this site. Celtic metal collar All were decorated with flowing abstract patterns of plant motifs and stylized animals, particularly serpents and birds, probably representing their gods. A different metalwork technique was found at this site – the addition of fused enamel to add color to the objects. PAGE 8


Victoria Chick discusses Celtic Art on Big Blend Radio!

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It is probable the Celtic tribes continued to move westward, intermarrying with local populations. They eventually mixed with the native people of Ireland. The Celtic decorative aesthetic merged perfectly with that of the people they found already there. From about 200 B.C. to 100 B.C., the power of the Roman Empire reached the British Isles. Only Ireland managed to stay free of the control of Rome. But, based on what little has been found, art making appears not to have thrived in Ireland until the collapse of the Roman Empire and, oddly enough, the beginning of the Dark Ages that coincided with the rise of Celtic Christianity. The Catholic Church, headquartered in Rome, sent St. Patrick to evangelize Ireland somewhere around the middle of the 5th Century A.D. Although not the first Christian missionary there, St. Patrick had great success in converting the people from pagan practices to Christian belief. So much so, that the output of art blossomed in a Christian manifestation using old Celtic (pagan) decorative patterns and styles. There were three main types of Celtic art during the 800 year period after the Romans left Ireland and 1100 A.D. when the Middle Ages were ending. The metalworking heritage of the Celtic tribes was brought into play by making ritual objects, such as chalices, reliquaries, and crucifixes, for worship. Enameling skills expanded, with craftsmen performing sophisticated cloisonné techniques that added rich color between thin lines of gold metal. The technique of “chip cutting” gold or silver to catch the light across a faceted surface was an invention of the Celts. On the flat surfaces of metal reliquary containers and book covers, the chip cutting technique was very effective.

Celtic crosses in churchyard Often, the first letter of each book would be elaborated with plant and animal forms. Sometimes the entire illumination would be stylized animals, head to tail, as if biting each other to form the shape of the letter. Sometimes a letter starting a chapter within the Gospel would also be illuminated. The Book of Kells is the most famous Irish Gospel illuminated manuscript, but the Book of Durrow, the Lindisfarne Gospels, and other manuscripts that have come down to us are all examples of the piety and art of the Irish Monastic system. Celtic manuscripts often had human figures but, because realism was not that important to the Celts, the figures were similar to those found in children’s coloring books today- areas defined by line and color between the lines. From about 750 A.D. to 1150 A.D. high crosses of stone were erected. Some were carved with historic biblical scenes and some simply had Celtic knot or swirl designs carved in relief.

In monasteries, separate rooms were designated for copying Bible manuscripts. First, the monks made smooth vellum from animal hides. Then, they Ardagh chalice copied the script, did illustration and decoration, and sewed the pages together. The process was painstaking and if any uncorrectable mistake was made, the page was thrown out and a new one started. The term “illuminated” refers to the extensive use of gold leaf that made the manuscripts glow in the light. Irish manuscripts used Celtic designs derived from the decorative metalwork examples of complex interlace patterns and animal forms. The three most common types of illumination were the “carpet page,” a sheet of overall decorative pattern placed before the beginning of a Gospel book; an illuminated page which was the beginning of a Gospel book; and a figural representation of the Gospel writer surrounded by pattern. PAGE 9

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Celtic Art continued‌

Artistically, the result was that some Celtic Irish Gospel manuscripts were sent to monasteries in Germany (Charlemagne was now Emperor of the new Holy Roman Empire and his court was at Aachen, Germany) for copying. Remember that the Celts had earlier settlements in Austria and Northern Germany and their decorative style still survived there. By 800 AD it had mingled with classical influences from Rome. The illuminated manuscripts of the Holy Roman Empire show modified Celtic interlace decoration but human figures are much more in the realist classical mode. In Germany and France during the Middle Ages, we also see a modified Celtic influence of symmetrical relief carving with animals and extensive pattern in the interiors and exteriors of Romanesque churches.

Judas Hanging, Autun Cathedral Some scholars believe they were an outgrowth of earlier Christian, vertical ogham stones marking graves, memorial places, and territories in Ireland and a few other places in the British Isles from about 400 A.D. The ogham stones have hatch marks on them that have been identified as a type of alphabet. The Celtic crosses are synonymous with Ireland. A carved, decorated vertical and a cross at the top most often having equal arms within a circle, has the symmetry and interlace qualities of traditional Celtic design.

Victoria Chick is the founder of the Cow Trail Art Studio in southwest New Mexico. She received a B.A. in Art from the University of Missouri at Kansas City and awarded an M.F.A. in Painting from Kent State University in Ohio. Visit her website at

The isolation of Ireland resulted in the development of the Celtic form of Christianity. When Ireland initiated sending missionaries to continental Europe, the Roman Catholic Church reawakened to their existence, and realized what they were teaching was not in line with the dogma of the Vatican. Meetings ensued and finally Bishops of the Irish Church agreed to be bound by the Pope in Rome.

Ogham Stone, Tyrone PAGE 10

Big Blend Radio interview with Tanya Ortega, Executive Director of the National Parks Arts Foundation

Current artist-in-residence programs include: Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania; Dry Tortugas National Park in Loggerhead Key, Florida; Chaco Culture National Historic Park, Aztec Ruins National Monument, Fort Union National Monument, and Pecos National Historic Park in New Mexico; Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Haleakala National Park in Hawaii; First National Historic Park in Delaware; and Big Bend National Park in Texas.


The National Parks Arts Foundation (NPAF) is the only nationwide non-profit providing Artist-inResidence Programs (AiR), Workshops, Exhibits and Museum Loans uniquely in cooperation with National Parks, National Monuments, State Parks, World Heritage Sites and other park locations. NPAF partners with the National Park Service, State Parks, park partners, schools, under-served organizations, museums, galleries and other entities in promotion of their successful programs.

NPAF are also always looking for established and unusual artists who are interested in doing public workshops in the parks. To discover all that the foundation has to offer or to apply to their many residencies please visit



: Twin Lakes Trading Post, NM 1971. © Edward Grazda

Listen to the Big Blend Radio interview with photographer Edward Grazda about his new photo book ‘A Last Glance’, published by powerHouse Books, and featuring a contribution by anthropologist Willow Roberts Powers.


Starting in the 1870s, trading posts were where Native Americans interacted with the Anglo world, bartering wool, rugs, baskets, and other items they made for coffee, cooking oil, flour, and other goods they needed. The trading posts functioned not only as stores but also as post offices and general gathering places to become the defacto hubs of cultural exchange. Trade by barter largely ended in the 1930s. Today a few still function as trading posts and U.S. post offices, but many became convenience stores and gas stations while others were abandoned and fell prey to decay and vandalism. Some remain in part but only marked by a stray wall or foundation stone. Since 1970 Ed Grazda has been searching for and photographing these buildings and in this book the reader is led on a tour showing those that are still functioning all the way to those that have succumbed to the ravages of time and neglect.

Ed Grazda. Photo by Valerie Sonnenthal

Combining vintage photographs with more contemporary images of the same locations from 2008 to today, ‘A Last Glance’ reminds us of the fascinating relationship and close exchange of culture that once existed between Native Americans and settlers and how each passing year makes its mark upon everything and our understanding and acceptance of our shared histories. Edward Grazda is the author of ‘Afghanistan Diary 1992-2000’ (powerHouse Books, 2000) and ‘Afghanistan 1980-1989’ (DerAlltag, 1990). His work has appeared in The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Double Take, and Granta and is in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the New York Public Library, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and MoMA, New York among others.


Old Red Lake Trading Post, AZ 2010. © Edward Grazda

He has received grants from The New York Foundation for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts, and has been a MacDowell Colony Fellow four times. ‘NY Masjid: The Mosques of New York’ with text by Jerrilynn Dodds and photographs by Edward Grazda was published by powerHouse Books in May 2002. In 2009, with Jeff Ladd and Valerie Sonnenthal, Ed founded Errata Editions--a publishing company dedicated to making important rare photo books accessible with its ‘Books on Books’ series. Grazda has also taught at The International Center of Photography in New York. Visit

Willow Roberts Powers is a retired anthropologist. She has spent a few decades in the Southwest, working on various reservations for tribes and pueblos. She knew trading posts when they were just past their heyday but still commercial centers of small communities and has interviewed traders, their customers, and many others about trading. Learn more at

Twin Lakes Trading Post, NM 2010. © Edward Grazda



Listen to the Big Blend Radio interview with photographer Jay Seldin, about his photo book covering the people and places of Cuba. Jay Seldin has been photographing Cuba since 2008, leading small group sold-out photography tours centered on a “People to People� cultural exchange and has built relationships with many Cuban families over the years. An award winning photographer who has exhibited internationally, his documentary style of photography shows intimacy between the artist and the subject. Building a priceless rapport with the Cuban people that he shares with his tour groups, he listens to their stories, and then captures photos of what is really there, representing what he sees with honesty and audacity. This type of travel is a bucket list worthy trip for photography enthusiasts as the experience goes beyond the streets and monuments we all recognize. Seldin has documented his travels and tours in the last decade in his newly released collection The Cubans [Backyard Hammock Publishing]. See PAGE 14


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As a professional travel photographer, Seldin explains, “The photographs in The Cubans reveal Cubans as they are, far beyond the clichés and American 50’s cars. The images bring a strong sense of reality and character to the people I photograph.

Photo above: Santeria Fortune Teller / Cathedral Plaza, Old Havana © Jay Seldin Photo below: Sleeping Resident of Calle Genios / Close to the Malecón, Havana © Jay Seldin

It’s about families and cultures, spirit and grace, and how they must learn to be creative and inventive just to survive. I don’t intend just to photograph a person, but to make that person important and empowered. It’s true, I am a teller of tales, and my photographs are my words that tell the story of the people, the challenges, the love and the hope that I see through my lens.” Jay Seldin is a professional photographer, teacher, and adventurer with a talent for social documentary. In addition to studying with Ansel Adams and George Tice, he has over thirty years of experience as a professional exhibiting photographer and teacher of photography in high school and colleges in the NYC area. CansonInfinity digital papers sponsor Seldin as a Canson Artist and Digital Printmaking expert. Seldin is the principal photographer at DigitalEdge Photography Studios in Montclair, NJ and also owns and operates CPE Photo Workshops LLC, an international photography workshop company. Visit PAGE 15


JEFF KOSSACK Less is the New Black Listen to the Big Blend Radio interview with Jeff Kossack.



Listen to the Big Blend Radio interview with Lisa Dawn Miller.

The highly anticipated follow up to ‘CountrySoul’, ‘Less is the New Black’ is the new album by LA-based singer-songwriter and producer Jeff Kossack and The Otherhand. As Jeff says, “It's the record I wish I'd been able to make a decade ago, but since each step in a journey preps you for the next, it might not have been do-able beyond wishing for it.” This record is all about small arrangements - less noise, and more personal and intimate. The Otherhand musicians on the album include Nick Kirgo, Daniel Rhine, and Ed Tree; and a few featured guest artists who really shine, like Janeen Rae Heller on saw. Mastering was by Marc DeSisto, and mixing by Alf Rodenas. Keep up with Jeff Kossack at


Fast emerging as a songwriter and recording artist, veteran musical producer and stage performer Lisa Dawn Miller – the daughter of legendary songwriter Ron Miller – makes her highly-anticipated debut as a singer-songwriter with ‘Hello You’, a five-track set that is the first in a unique rollout of three EP releases. The long awaited follow-up to her first independent album ‘Fly Away’ nearly 10 years ago, ‘Hello You’, released on iTunes and Amazon, includes four original songs, three co-written with her longtime creative partner Mark Matson, and a bonus recording of “A Place in the Sun,” written by Ron Miller (originally recorded by Stevie Wonder in 1966). “I love songwriting and I am so excited to get back to my roots,” says Lisa. “I will continue to honor my father’s legacy and I remain committed to multiple projects I am producing about his life.” Visit

For More Big Blend Radio Interviews with Musicians, Check Out Our Music Play List on SoundCloud! PAGE 16


TIM MCNARY Above The Trees Listen to the Big Blend Radio interview with Tim McNary.

LANEY JONES New Self-titled Album Listen to the Big Blend Radio interview with Laney Jones.


Born on the southside of Chicago, Tim McNary was raised in a strict evangelical environment without secular music, followed his wanderlust to tiny seaside towns in South America, sang in a southern rock band along the eastern coast of the US, lived in his car in Atlanta, and eventually grew roots in Nashville, Tennessee. His new EP, ‘Above the Trees’, combines songs chronicling those experiences and will be released March 4, 2016. Recorded with producer Paul Warner between a mountain cabin in rural Georgia and East Nashville, McNary's album sounds like what might happen if Bon Iver went on a songwriting retreat with Josh Ritter - and spent a few nights in Brazil somewhere along the way. Visit


Americana artist Laney Jones releases her new self-titled album on March 11, 2016. Produced by Grammy-nominated David Plakon (Wild Child, Young Rapids and Roadkill Ghost Choir), the "retro majestic" album is a mixture of timeless sounds with current influences, topped with Laney's signature vocals. The 10-song collection explores modern textures and grooves, while still being true to the philosophical wonderings that make Laney's writing exceptional. More rock and roll than folk, the album swims into the depths of 1960s and 70s singer-songwriters while discussing relatable themes of self-discovery, growing up and finding a personal identity. Visit

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Click to Watch Video!




Listen to the Big Blend Radio interview with Roy Enochson, during a spring 2015 visit to Yerington, Nevada.

Yerington Theatre for the Arts Yerington Theatre for the Arts (YTA) is housed within the Jeanne Dini Cultural Center, in the beautifully restored historic Yerington Grammar School No. 9, in historic downtown Yerington, Nevada. Here one can enjoy lunch at the café, watch a concert or performance, and view visual art exhibitions. YTA also presents a variety of education programs and cultural events, is host to the Yerington’s annual Taste of the Valley Festival, and is the site for the town’s summer farmers market. The center is also an event facility for weddings, meetings and special events. Upcoming Shows: March 16: Beaupromo Puppetry – Reviving the ancient tradition of marionette puppetry, local puppeteer Bernie Beauchamp presents 24-inch tall marionette puppets to narrate stories from America’s history through song, dance, and music.

April 8: Snap Jackson & Knock On Wood Players – These four gentlemen effortlessly blend Americana, bluegrass, soul, and old time music to create a unique, fresh, and energetic sound. May 12: In-Tune Tales – Exploring the rich tradition of the spoken word combined with music and song, In-Tune Tales performances encourage children to develop their verbal, interactive, and attention skills — to use their imaginations and their minds. This talented and engaging trio performs songs and spoken word stories along with an organically created “soundtrack” using upright bass, guitar, violin, and vocals. Learn more at

Hollywood History With Steve Schneickert


From a dream, listen as Steve Schneickert recalls the Hollywood History of nostalgic TV Commercials that range from Timex watches to Chevrolet cars and trucks, Grape Nuts cereal to Wheaties, Chicken of the Sea tuna to Campbell’s Soup, Oscar Meyer wieners to Armour hot dogs, Coca-Cola to Maxwell House Coffee, Mr. Clean to Old Iron Eyes Cody, and more! PAGE 18

The Bakery Gallery – Popular destination offering a delicious variety of cakes, pies, cookies, cupcakes, muffins, Danish pastries, coffee cakes, biscotti, chocolate truffles, desserts, and breads. They serve coffee and espresso and pre-fixe to-go dinners. 215 W. Goldfield Ave., Yerington, NV 89447. Tel: (775) 463-4070,


RANTS, RAVES & ROCK ‘N ROLL NEWS & INTERVIEWS TERRY E. HILL The Committee With ‘Come Sunday Morning’, ‘When Sunday Comes Again’ and ‘The Last Sunday’, author Terry E. Hill has proven himself an adept story weaver. Enthralling his readers with a trilogy based inside a megachurch setting, his well-spun plots of scandal, suspense and seduction were delivered with acute precision. Skillfully whipping his readers into a page-turning frenzy, they rushed to keep abreast of characters bigger than the books that encased them. With the release of ‘The Committee’ on Urban Renaissance, an imprint of Kensington Publishing Corp., the author ups the ante and moves into the world of politics. ’The Committee’ is a beguiling tale that twirls Illuminati conspiracy, New Orleans voodoo, American politics and a subplot gay affair in a delicious twist of turbulence and turmoil. We find out that the secret society behind the country's biggest political ploys is a mysterious New Orleans family of Creole women who head "The Committee." It is they who in fact control the white men mistaken to be the country's power figures! "The Committee" has selected every US president since James Monroe and controls much of the country's economy. When they make the decision that the United States is not only ready for a Black woman president, but also select her, the phrase, 'hell hath no fury like a woman scorned' takes on new and insidious meaning.


Listen to the Big Blend Radio interview with bestselling author Terry E. Hill.

Camille Ernestine Hardaway is the first African American female mayor of Los Angeles and she has it all - stunning good looks, power, a seemingly devoted husband and influential allies. "The Committee" has decided that she will be the first Black female President of the United States and will stop at nothing to ensure their rising candidate reaches the White House. Author Terry E. Hill sublimely works hypnosis with the written word as he winds the reader deeper down a sinister black hole with each chapter. ‘The Committee's’ lethal combination of manipulation, intimidation, mysticism and murder make for the most intoxicating political thriller. Visit



JOHNNY MASTRO & MAMA’S BOYS New Video: House of the Rising Sun

MAKANA New Video: #FireIsOurs “I make music for people and trouble for oligarchs.” Makana As described on, the new video by Makana: “‘Fire Is Ours’ refers to the positive collective spirit and unity that in 1776 created a republic from oligarchy and again in the 1930s under FDR’s leadership elevated America and enfranchised the majority of citizens in economic equality and prosperity. Civil Rights, Women’s Rights and Immigrant Rights all moved forward until war and corporate greed dismantled the dream of an ever progressing society. Now is our time to reignite the fires of democracy founded on equitable representation. The message is clear: our broken, polarized, corrupt system must be replaced by a courageous and public values centered movement that creates integrity and health in economy, ecology, politics, law and social fabric. Bernie is the practical and symbolic elder of this transformation.”

New video by New Orleans based Johnny Mastro & Mama’s Boys of their boogified version of "House of the Rising Sun," a track from their latest album "Never Trust the Living". Recorded live at the Music Shed in the Lower Garden District in New Orleans, the album features Johnny Mastro - Harmonica, Smokehouse - Guitar, Dean Zucherro - Bass, Rob Lee – Drums. Most of the video footage features the 7th and 9th Ward in New Orleans. Visit

Click to Watch Video!

Click to Watch Video!



DANIEL CASTRO BAND Daniel Castro grew up in the L.A. area, and was heavily influenced by the blues greats Albert King, B.B. King, and Albert Collins. As a kid, Daniel would hang outside clubs like the Golden Bear in Huntington Beach to hear these blues legends perform and wait for a glimpse of them through the curtains. After cutting his teeth in South Central L.A. blues clubs with “Mighty Mouth” Delmar Evans, who worked with the Johnny Otis Show, Castro backed other great artists from Otis’ band, including Pee Wee Crayton and Little Esther Phillips. He also recorded and toured with many other artists including legendary Small Faces singer-bassist Ronnie Lane. Moving to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1995, Daniel formed The Daniel Castro Band and quickly became a hot draw in the burgeoning local blues scene. In 1999, Daniel recorded his first release ‘No Surrender’, and followed it up with ‘Live at The Saloon’, a double CD recorded in 2003 at San Francisco’s oldest bar and mecca for the blues faithful. Both albums highlight the talents of Daniel’s playing, songwriting, and arranging and feature stellar performances by some of the Bay Area’s best sidemen.


Listen to the Big Blend Radio interview with blues guitarist Daniel Castro

Daniel and Johnny began performing as a trio, using a platoon of drummers as they searched for the elusive third member of the band. In early 2012, Johnny reconnected with drummer David Perper, whom he had worked with in a variety of settings over many years. David got together with Daniel and Johnny at their rehearsal space and it soon became obvious to all that they collectively had something unique. With Johnny and David, Daniel has an intuitive and explosive rhythm section. Their latest album is ‘Desperate Rain’. Visit

In 2011, Daniel began getting together with bassist Johnny Yu, who had recorded several cuts on ‘No Surrender’. They quickly became a team, working out arrangements to many of Daniel’s new original tunes and forming the nucleus of the new band. PAGE 22

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NEWS & INTERVIEWS TRIBUTE TO ELVIS The 13thAnnual Yuma Council for CASA Benefit Concert with Scot Bruce and his Shake, Rattle and Roll Band, happens on March 11, 2016 at the Yuma Civic Center in Yuma, Arizona. Listen to the Big Blend Radio interview with Scot Bruce (internationally known as the greatest Elvis since Elvis), and Brooke, President of the Yuma Council for C.A.S.A.


C.A.S.A. provides toys, clothing and personal care items for children in need. All proceeds from this concert will go to support C.A.S.A. in their efforts to help local kids. For tickets and other info, call 928-373-5040 or visit

Because of his uncanny resemblance to the young “King” (and his ability to sing, strum a guitar, and swivel his hips), Scot Bruce’s Tribute to Elvis show has taken him all over the world. As Elvis, he has appeared in music videos with Faith Hill and Sheryl Crow, and appeared in roles on the hit soap operas Days of Our Lives and The Bold and the Beautiful. He performs at Disneyland on a regular basis, and tours with the ‘Legends of Rock & Roll - Buddy, Roy & Elvis. Visit


Raise a ‘Glass of Green’ and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with this cocktail recipe from Tyler Johnston, mixologist at the Yuma Landing Bar & Grill in Yuma, Arizona. For more cocktail recipes visit

LEPRECHAUN JUICE ½ oz. gin ½ oz. white / silver tequila ½ oz. light rum ½ oz. vodka 1 oz. blue Curacao 4 oz. fresh squeezed orange juice Fill a hurricane or parfait glass with ice. Pour in the liquors and top off with orange juice. Garnish with an orange wheel and cherries.


Listen to Tyler Johnston on Big Blend Radio!


Yuma Landing Bar & Grill Come Eat, Drink & Be Merry where the First Airplane Landed in Arizona! Hangar Sports Bar 24 Beers on Tap ~ Daily Drink Specials Appetizers & Entrees Televised Sports Events ~ Live Music & Entertainment

Captain’s Lounge Top-shelf Cocktails ~ Fine Wines ~ Specialty Coffees

Yuma Landing Restaurant American & South-of-the-Border Cuisine Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

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Win! Win! Win! Sign up on for our Captain’s Log e-Newsletter and you will be entered into our monthly drawing for a $25 Yuma Landing Gift Certificate, plus you'll get news on other great giveaways, specials, Yuma Landing recipes, events news & more! Located on the same property as the Historic Coronado Motor Hotel, the Yuma Landing Bar & Grill is the site where the first airplane landed in Arizona, and features a state monument, historic photos and memorabilia.

Groups of 15 or more diners get a 15% discount on breakfast, lunch and dinner. All Military Personnel Receive a 20% Discount on Meals!

195 S. 4th Avenue, Yuma, Arizona Tel: (928) 782-7427 PAGE 47 PAGE 25

Tips for Serving 25-30 Guests Husband-and-wife team Howard and Ruth Milstein share these brunch tips and have a lively conversation on Big Blend Radio about brunch, champagne, and entertaining. Howard is a wine expert, and Ruth is the author of the Gourmand award-winning cookbook 'Cooking with Love: Ventures into the New Israeli Cuisine.' Learn more at A brunch party is the perfect get together for family and friends alike when you don't want to go through the hassle of hosting a full dinner bash. One of the best things about a brunch party is that some of the food is often quick to prepare, buy and can be made ahead. The typical brunch is a big buffet which suits the most casual meal of the day. If you do decide on a buffet, label the dishes using place cards so guests don't have to wonder what is what. Stick to foods that can sit for a while without spoiling. If your place is not big enough or you don't have enough tables and chairs to seat your guests, serve finger foods only. The time for this party lends itself to entertaining guests of any age. Let guests know right on your invitation by adding "bring children" if you like. The best way is to prepare a separate table for the kids. PAGE 26


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FOOD Cold Food: - From my experience, mini bagels with lox (smoked salmon; preferably cured), flavored low fat cream cheeses and sliced vegetables are a must! Buy a variety of whole wheat bagels early in the day. Fifty will do. Left-over's can be easily frozen for up to 2 weeks. - Mini doughnuts on the children's table only (About 25). Buy them early in the day as well. - Single-serving cereal boxes with milk should be placed on the children's table. - Serve 3 kinds of vegetables spreads. They can be prepared a day ahead as this will enhance the flavors. - Vegetables and fruit can be washed a day ahead. This will make it easy to assemble a vegetable and fruit salad platter. Hot food: - Make a casserole and 2 kinds of pies using individual mini baking pans. They can be made up to 2 days ahead. Use lots of vegetables and minimize the amount of cheese. - Scrambled eggs or cheese omelets are a quick and easy way to fill up your guests, and are best presented on a decorative platter. Kids will like it too. - Hash browns can be prepared a day ahead and warmed up. Mini rolls or sweet buns are great if you like to bake. Bake 1 mini tray each. Nice colorful table cloths and plates are desirable - Stay away from pancakes and French toast. It's and festive. A good host makes sure that none of time consuming and wasted fat and calories! her guests leave intoxicated. When it comes to music, for brunches it is better to avoid it. Let the DRINKS guests mingle. Most of all HAVE FUN! Hot Drinks: - Regular and decaf coffee and all the flavor fixings including: cinnamon, nutmeg, and a variety of dairy options — non-fat milk, regular milk, half-and-half and condensed milk. Mix in a little something to spike the coffee with, like Irish cream, almond or hazelnut liquors. - English breakfast tea and a few herbal tea varieties are good. Honey and lemon slices too. Hot chocolate will complete the bar for adults and kids. Cold Drinks: - Orange juice, tomato, carrot, or a mixed juice blend is a nice twist. - Cold water and plenty of ice is mandatory! - Champagne: 2 bottles is enough. 2 bottles each of white and red wine. - Do not serve whiskey or hard liquor unless asked for. For mixed drinks look no further than for a Bloody Mary or Mimosa (fruit juice and Champagne) PAGE 27

Peach Bellini Cocktails to Tiramisu Crepes There’s nothing that says ‘spring is here’ like a relaxing Sunday brunch with friends, family and loved ones. Whether it’s a romantic meal for two, a small gathering around your breakfast bar or a patio party, here are six distinctive recipes to jazz up your brunch menu.

Peach Bellini Cocktail Perfect for a Sunday brunch, this cocktail is from bartender Jeremy Contreras ‘The Mad Scientist’, from Yuma Landing Bar & Grill in Yuma, Arizona. For more cocktail recipes visit 2 oz. Peach puree 3 slices of lemon, juiced 1 oz. Peach Schnapps 3 oz. Prosecco / sparkling white wine Mix all ingredients in blender with ice. Pour into tulip glass and serve.


Creamy Coconut Polenta This tasty side dish is wonderful with sautéed vegetables, a bit of fresh grated Parmesan cheese, and an over-easy egg on top. It also pairs well with fresh fruit. This recipe is from Linda Brewer, innkeeper of Bear Mountain Lodge in Silver City, New Mexico. See 5 ½ cups coconut milk 1 cup medium coarse milled polenta Pinch of salt 1 tsp. honey ¼ cup of butter Bring coconut milk to a simmer. Add polenta, salt and honey. Stir until the coconut milk is not foamy. Add butter. Serve warm. Makes 6 servings.

Baked Brie This decadent appetizer is from Donna George, owner of The Peanut Patch in Yuma, Arizona. For more of her recipes visit 8 oz. Brie cheese, rind on 1 cup chopped pecans 1 cup prickly pear jelly, or your favorite jelly 1 egg, beaten Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover baking pan with foil and spray it with nonstick oil or butter. Beat egg in a bowl that can hold the entire round of cheese. Dip the Brie in the egg and coat all sides. Dip Brie in chopped pecans, covering as much of the cheese as possible. Place Brie on baking dish, then cover the top with prickly pear jelly or your favorite jelly. Bake for 25 minutes. Serve with crackers.

Date Crystal Baked Grapefruit This delicious breakfast appetizer is from Debbie Mansheim, owner of Basket Creations & More in Yuma, Arizona. For more recipes using Medjool dates and date crystals, see Make this about 12 hours before you plan to serve it. Cut grapefruit in half; remove core and separate segments with a sharp knife. Sprinkle each half with two teaspoons of date crystals (or date sugar). Bake 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Can be eaten warm or chilled. PAGE 29

Continued on Next Page…


Listen to the Big Blend Radio interview with Chef Jeremy Manley!

Brunch Recipes Continued… Monte de Julian Sandwich Chef Jeremy Manley ‘San Diego’s Sustainable Chef’ shares his Monte Cristo sandwich recipe with an apple twist. Julian, California, where his restaurant Jeremy’s on the Hill California Style Bistro is located, is known for growing apples and pears. For more of Chef Manley’s recipes and to download his free recipe e-book, visit Egg custard: 3 eggs 3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream 1 tablespoon of milk 1 tablespoon of sugar 1/2 tablespoon of cinnamon 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 tablespoons of butter, melted Mix all ingredients together until thoroughly combined. Apple Jam: 5 Fuji apples cut into 4 pieces (just remove the core) ¼ cup sugar 2 tablespoons dried cranberries 2 tablespoons golden raisins 1 teaspoon salt 2 splashes of Grand Marnier

For each sandwich you will need: 350 degree oven Two pieces of sourdough bread 6 ounces of apple wood smoked ham 2 pieces of Cheddar, Swiss, or Manchego cheese Caramelized onions or slightly grilled onions Homemade apple jam (feel free to substitute raspberry preserves) Put a tablespoon or more of butter into a sauté pan. Place over medium-high flame. When your butter begins to brown, grab your premade Monte de Julian sandwich. Lightly dip your sandwich into your egg-custard batter and place in the sizzling hot pan. Look around the edges of the sandwich for a golden brown color to form, this will determine if the sandwich is ready to be flipped. Once flipped, turn the flame down low for about 30 seconds and finish cooking. Turn the burner off and place in your toasty oven. Your cheese will begin to melt. Pull your Monte de Julian out of the oven and let sit to stabilize for about 3 minutes. Then, cut from corner to corner and garnish with powdered sugar, and serve with extra dollops of your apple jam. Enjoy!

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Combine all ingredients into a soup pot and cook over medium flame for 15-22 minutes. Pierce with a knife to see if it comes out smoothly and goes into the apples with no resistance. If this is not the case, allow to cook another 15 minutes and try again. Using a stick blender, puree your apple jam and allow to sit at room temperature.


Tricia’s Tiramisu Crepes The perfect main course or dessert for a spring brunch, this crepe recipe is a Simple & Delicious adaptation by Patricia Harvey, innkeeper of Joshua Inn Bed & Breakfast in historic downtown Hollister, California. See Batter: 4 eggs ¾ cup milk ¼ cup club soda 3 tablespoons butter, melted 2 tablespoons of strong brewed coffee 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 cup flour 1-2 tablespoons sugar 2 tablespoons baking cocoa ¼ teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, beat the wet ingredients: eggs, milk, club soda, butter, coffee and vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, cocoa, and salt. Add to wet mixture and mix well. Cover and keep in the refrigerator for about 1 hour. Filling: 8 oz. Mascarpone cheese 8 oz. cream cheese, softened ½ cup whole milk ricotta cheese ¾ cup sugar ¼ cup coffee liqueur or strong brewed coffee 2 tablespoons vanilla extract In a large bowl, beat the cheeses and sugars until fluffy. Add the vanilla, liqueur or coffee, and beat until smooth. Putting it all together: Over medium heat, heat a lightly greased 8-inch non-stick skillet (preferably with coconut oil). Pour 2 tablespoons of batter in the center of the skillet. Lift and tilt the skillet to coat the bottom of the pan evenly. Cook until the top looks dry, then turn it and cook it for another 10-15 seconds. Spoon about 2 tablespoons down the center of the crepe, and then roll it up. Top with whipped cream and chocolate syrup, and serve. Yields 20 servings.

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Eating and Touring the Hot Trends in Western Montana By Linda Kissam ‘Food, Wine & Shopping Diva’ Montana is famous for Yellowstone Park, the Bighorn Mountains, Glacier Park, wildlife, huckleberries, elk, bison, and trout. Montana is trending big time in culinary circles …but not necessarily in the areas you might think. The towns in Montana might be small, but the gastronomic buzz is big. I thought it was time to taste and see for myself why foodies are focusing on Montana as the next big thing. Good food reveals a lot about any destination and nowhere is that more true than Western Montana. Don’t tell me what a place is like—simply let me taste the food. Add in a few activities that surprise me and you have my undivided attention – and recommendation. Continued on Next Page… PAGE 32


Listen to Linda Kissam on Big Blend Radio! Flying into Missoula, my four–day trip would take me on a winter food tour I really wasn’t prepared for. I discovered Montana’s wintertime cuisine has as much sophistication and grit as the sky is blue and the mountains are big. It seems some really creative boys and girls have settled into Western Montana, bringing diverse flavors and experiences to the small towns they now call home. Under 80,000 people live in Missoula and Kalispell combined, but they all must have good taste as I am guessing that's one explanation why there's a cluster of excellent eateries along the main streets of both towns. Residents have a history of pairing good food and adult beverages in an easygoing way. They support their local eateries yearlong, helping to sustain the burgeoning culinary scene during the winter months. Tourists crowd in during summer months. Somehow the synergy of the two is creating world-class cuisine in a non-stuffy environment. After eating well (an understatement) on my journey from Missoula to Kalispell and parts nearby, I compiled a list of culinary standouts. Since one cannot simply eat 24/7 (although I gave that a good try) I stopped along the way to soak in some unique destinations and share them with you as well. Just get in the car baby…and drive your way to big eats and surprising treats. 1. Lunch at Caffé Dolce (Missoula) - Fresh soups, salads and sandwiches. Locals will encourage you to try the Lamb Burger with bacon, grilled onion, goat cheese, spicy sambal aioli and arugula on a ciabatta roll, served with a house salad ($16). It’s a winner. Follow up with a tasty gelato with a splash of olive oil. 2. Missoula Art Museum - Each year, 20 to 25 solo and group exhibitions rotate through six stateof-the-art galleries. I was lucky enough to see the John Buck exhibition known for its carved wood and bronze sculptures and large woodblock prints that incorporate a variety of diverse imagery. Free admission. Small and intimate. Continued on Next Page… PAGE 33

3. Cooking Class at Good Food Store (Missoula) - Think what the child of Whole Foods and Bristol Farms might look like: a big splashy healthy marketplace. Instructor Emily Walter took on 5 of us for a “Hands on Winter Brunch” cooking class using only local ingredients. Never knew beet hash with bacon, kale and eggs could be so good. Ever had lemon ricotta pancakes with flathead cherries? You should. Definitely. My station created a winter citrus salad with quinoa, kale, blood oranges and pistachios. Call the store to sign up. 4. Wine Tasting at Ten Spoon Winery (Missoula) - The exposed top of the remains of Glacial Lake Missoula, left behind a deep layer of colorful argillite cobble in the Rattlesnake Valley. These rocks, and the pure water flowing out of the Rattlesnake Mountains are the source of the flavors that make up Ten Spoon wines. A short growing season at 3,450 feet elevation, long hours of sunlight over 2,000 degree days create wines that are lean and bright with a distinct back mineral taste. Varietal and fruit wines are available. Ten Spoon grows and produce wines free from synthetic chemicals while focusing on preserving open space for wildlife, agriculture, people and companion animals. A small but adorable tasting room with friendly staff completes the picture of a tasting experience you should try. Try the Flathead Cherry Dry Fruit Wine. 5. The Pearl (Missoula) - French Country dining greets diners with white tablecloths, a locally inspired menu and a great wine list. Prices are extremely reasonable and you can wear your jeans. What’s not to love? Try the local’s favorite, Filet Mignon topped with port wine and Roquefort cheese sauce served with fresh vegetables and the creamiest mashed potatoes ever. ($37). 6. Breakfast at The Shack (Missoula) - A local’s favorite for over 30 years, The Shack specializes in locally sourced foods, offering a broad breakfast menu featuring items made from scratch. Splurge and order the Buffalo pie, hash browns topped with ham, one egg, cheddar and jack cheeses, and gravy over the top. 7. Miracle of America Museum – What’s a road trip without stopping at a roadside museum? This one will knock your socks off. Located two miles south of Polson on Montana’s US 93 South this is an odd accumulation of memorabilia, wreckage, and artifacts, ranging from the simple and ordinary to the strange and remarkable. The self-professed “Smithsonian of the West” is a bizarrely educational roadside spectacle which shouldn’t be passed by. Continued on Next Page… PAGE 34

8. Kalispell Brewery - Founded in 2012 by Cole Schneider and Maggie Doherty, husband and wife, English majors, Telemark ski racers and home brewers. Wanting to be a part of the community, the couple purchased a vacant, aging downtown building on Main Street, which they spent more than a year extensively remodeling and constructing to house their 10 barrel brewery and tasting room. Excellent brew. Definitely worth a visit. 9. The Garden of One Thousand Buddhas is a spiritual site near Arlee, Montana, within the Flathead Indian Reservation in Lake County, Montana. Not exactly a culinary moment, but it was a good place to clear the mind and reflect on the peace and quiet that is so Montana as I readied myself for my final activities. Four feet beneath the central sculpture at the Garden of 1000 Buddhas, a pile of munitions lies destroyed in testament to the monument's purpose as an international peace center. Above ground towers Yum Chenmo, mother of all Buddhas, and around her a thousand Buddhas as well as a thousand stupas sit atop pedestals extending across the site in the shape of an 8-spoked wheel. It is ever changing. Soon bird perching poles and birdhouses will be added to the site. Events are planned each year. 10. Cupping Class – Love Coffee? If so, it should be your goal to take a cupping class at Montana Coffee Traders. This was my second favorite foodie experience on this trip. Coffee cupping is a quality control tool used to dissect the aromas and nuanced flavors from a selection of coffees. The class lasts about an hour and is free to the public. You’ll learn basic coffee knowledge, how to interpret the coffee flavor wheel. You’ll also complete a cupping form sensory evaluation (cupping) by sniffing (fragrance and aroma), slurping (acidity, flavor and body) and swallowing (aftertaste). It’s a fun but serious event, and in the end, just like wine, it’s the “right” coffee for you…if you like it. Just sayin’.

But it is also gentile, creative and yummy. Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks are just the tip of what’s available to do, see and taste. In between your hiking, biking, skiing and fishing slow down to discover the spectacular food scene. When you go:

Doubletree Tree Hotel Missoula: 100 Madison, Missoula, Montana, 5980 11. DeSoto Grill (Kalispell) - You want good Red Lion Inn: 20 North Main St, Kalispell, Montana barbeque? You come here. Period. Obviously a 59901 local’s favorite, this was my favorite stop on the trip. Grouse Mountain Lodge: 2 Fairway Dr., Whitefish, Willie and Shawnna Steele have created a unique MT 59937 eatery. Think wooden tables, live music, roughGlacier County Tourism: Western Montana & and-tumble atmosphere with a heart of culinary Glacier National Park Travel Information: gold. You’ll see all kinds of people here. Come casual, be hungry and order the rockabilly style BBQ sliders. West Coast style meets mountain Linda Kissam 'Food, Wine & Shopping Diva' is a man yum. Highly recommend. professional travel, food, and wine writer based out of Southern California, who specializes in Keep your eye on this place. It’s trending in all the easy, breezy destination stories sharing her right places and promises only to get better. True -- favorite things about the places she visits. Visit Montana is untamed, wild and natural. PAGE 35

More Americans are turning to a plant-based diet, or at least dedicating one day such as #MeatlessMonday, to keeping animal products off their plates.

Ingredients Continued 3 tablespoons Piquante Hot Sauce 1 tablespoons fresh chopped herbs (thyme, chervil, basil, parsley) Juice of one large lemon This is happening for a variety of reasons that 2 cups Wondra Flour or AP Flour range from ethical treatment of livestock to health ½ gallon canola oil heated to 375 degrees and environmental concerns. Eating a vegan diet Fleur de Sel sea salt does not mean you have to live on carrot sticks and Fresh cracked black pepper salads. There’s a world of exotic spices and plantbased ingredients to experiment with, and of course Heat oil to 375F degrees freshly picked produce only adds to the flavor and Cut mushrooms into 1 inch pieces and place in a texture of a dish. Follows are three recipes that bowl rank high on the taste-o-meter. Add sweet chili, and piquante sauce to coat lightly Place calamari in a bowl with flour to dust lightly, shake off excess flour Fry for three minutes till golden brown Place in a bowl and add herbs, garlic puree and then season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss well.


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FAUX CALAMARI Featuring king trumpet mushrooms, garlic and spice, this tasty vegan appetizer recipe is from Five-Star Chef Ivan Flowers. Serves 4. Ingredients: 1 pound King Trumpet Mushrooms ½ teaspoon garlic puree ¼ cup sweet chili sauce

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SMOKEY VEGAN VEGETABLE SOUP Featuring a cornucopia of fresh in-season vegetables, this delicious soup recipe is from Chef Ken Drew, filmed at Rickey’s Restaurant at Inn Marin, in Novato, California. See

Note: It is not necessary to have all the listed vegetables. For instance, you can replace the asparagus with broccoli. As long as the total amount of vegetables is the same, the vegetables can be switched according to season or your liking.

Ingredients: 2 stalks celery, diced 1 carrot, diced ½ onion, diced 1 zucchini, diced 1 yellow squash, diced 1 red pepper, diced 1 green pepper, diced 1 tomato, diced 1 bunch asparagus, sliced 1 baby bok chok, sliced 4 oz. green beans, cut 1 bunch cilantro, chopped 1 oz. garlic, chopped 1 oz. chipotle paste, pureed 2 oz. olive oil 2 qts. vegetable stock or tomato juice In a sauce pot, heat olive oil until hot, and sauté celery, carrots, onion and garlic until onion is translucent. Add vegetable stock or tomato juice and bring to a boil. Let boil for 5 minutes then add all other vegetables and lower heat to a simmer. Let simmer for 5 minutes and then add chipotle paste until desired smokiness. PAGE 37

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TOFU BOURGUIGNON This fragrant and flavorful tofu recipe is from Leah Launey, innkeeper of Three Rivers Bed & Breakfast, near the entrance of Sequoia National park in central California. See 1 Tablespoon locally produced olive oil ½ cup water or vegetable broth 1 large bell pepper, sliced 2 medium red onions, sliced 2-3 cloves local garlic, minced 2 small zucchini, locally grown, sliced ½ small sprig of fresh rosemary from the garden, minced (or 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary) 1 fresh California bay laurel leaf from the garden, torn in 4 pieces 12 to 16 oz. organic extra firm tofu packed in pure water (with no preservatives), cubed 1/4 teaspoon dried ground marjoram 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves 1/4 teaspoon black pepper 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire 2 cups Burgundy wine (or any good red wine)

In the bottom of a Dutch oven, put your olive oil, vegetables, and fresh rosemary. Cover and simmer gently until vegetables are wilted, gradually adding water or vegetable broth as needed. Add tofu, plus the pure water it was packed in (about 1 cup). Add the dried seasonings, the black pepper and the Worcestershire. Heat to boiling and boil, stirring, for 1 minute. Add wine. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes. Cover and set aside until ready to eat with steamed rice or French bread. If making this a day ahead, cool down completely then refrigerate the completed dish overnight. Warm it up slowly the next day. The flavor of the dried ingredients will intensify. Yum!

Originally, this was my recipe for leftover turkey thigh meat. As modified here, you are replacing the leftover turkey with extra firm tofu, and adding fresh rosemary and bay laurel grown in your garden, in addition to local garlic and zucchini. If you grow your own bell peppers and onions, it'll taste even better! Always feel free to experiment. A recipe is just a starting point. This serves three to four people, with steamed white Basmati rice or slices of French bread.


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2016 PHS Philadelphia Flower Show Explore America: 100 Years of the National Park Service The 2016 PHS Philadelphia Flower Show, “Explore America,” will celebrate the centennial of the National Park Service and our country’s majestic landscapes, rich history, and vibrant culture on March 5-13 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

Listen to the Big Blend Radio interview with Sam Lemheney, Chief of Shows and Events for the Philadelphia Horticultural Society!


From Acadia and Cape Cod, to Valley Forge and Shenandoah, to Yellowstone, Yosemite and other iconic parks and historic sites, American beauty and glory will serve as inspiration for exhibits created by the nation’s premier floral and garden designers. In the Flower Show’s acres of trails, exhibits and attractions, guests will discover the range of horticulture in the national landscape, including the rainbow of wildflowers, desert blooms, coastal flora, verdant meadows, fragrant pinelands, and ancient redwoods. The Flower Show will also tell the diverse stories that forged the United States with exhibits inspired by the nation’s monuments and places where history happened. “Explore America” will spotlight Independence National Historical Park, Lincoln’s birthplace, Liberty Island, and other sites honoring our national heritage. The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society and the National Park Service are natural partners, sharing a common mission to protect and care for natural resources and preserve green spaces. In 2016, the National Park Service is celebrating 100 years of sharing America’s 410 national parks sites, and helping people make meaningful connections to them. Through “Explore America,” PHS and the Park Service are engaging those who know and love the parks, and inviting a new generation to discover the special places that belong to us all. Visit PAGE 39

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Wine, Roses and Wildflowers By Lisa D. Smith Whether you love to stop and smell the roses with a little wine tasting on the side, or delight in getting out into nature to soak up the sunshine as you hike amongst spring wildflowers, scenic San Benito County is the spring destination for you!


Listen to the Big Blend Radio interview with Pinnacles National Park Interpreter PT Lathrop, who discusses the park’s unique biodiversity, fascinating geology and visitor experiences.

Just a couple hours east of San Francisco and less than five hours north of Los Angeles, San Benito County is the eastern gateway to Pinnacles National Park. It’s rising in popularity as a destination that offers a variety of outdoor activities, a wonderful wine tasting trail, a delicious selection of dining opportunities, boutique shopping, historic parks and museums, and fun events. A place where history and nature meets, and home to an eclectic collection of small businesses and a sustainable farming community, San Benito County is ‘The True California’ experience. Wine, Roses and History Where there’s an old mission, you can pretty much guarantee that there’s wine and roses in the vicinity. Known as “The City of History,” San Juan Bautista is a charming historic village surrounded by organic farms and vineyards, and home to the San Juan Bautista State Historic Park, the Old Mission San Juan Bautista, and the De Anza Hiking Trailhead. Take a walking tour to see the 30 historic buildings that surround the Spanish Plaza - many of them have historic gardens. PAGE 40

The fifteenth and largest mission church in California, the Old Mission San Juan Bautista was built in 1797. The site where the old movie ‘Vertigo’ was filmed, the Old Mission has a gorgeous rose garden with a statue of Father Junipero Serra near the entrance to the graveyard, and a statue of an Indian stretching his arms up to heaven. Across from the Old Mission, the Zanetta House/Plaza Hall (built in 1868), has a vibrant historic garden with a beautiful collection of antique roses and a diverse selection of plants and flowers. The historic city of Hollister, the county seat, is just a 15 minute scenic drive east of San Juan Bautista. The historic downtown makes for a delightful stroll where you’ll see murals, specialty shops and restaurants. The architecture is fascinating with historic styles that range from Victorian such as the house where ‘East of Eden’ was filmed, to Frank Lloyd Wright or Prairie Style like The Wapple House that houses the San Benito County Historical Society Museum. The San Benito County Wine Trail features a number award-winning wineries. Known for their Pinot Noir, Calera Wine Company has a lovely flower-filled picnic and barbecue area that offers spectacular mountain views. DeRose Vineyards is a National Natural Landmark that is said to be the oldest existing winery in the state of California. Another picnic destination, Pietra Santa Winery offers wine and olive oil tasting at their grand Mission-style estate. Another favorite stop is Casa de Fruta, a century old destination that along with tasting their fruit wines, is a fun place to take the kids and shop for fresh fruits, nuts and produce.

San Benito County Historic Park is a historical village on 33 acres within San Benito County Historical and Recreational Park just south of Hollister, in Tres Pinos. You can tour 10 historic buildings and see a collection of historic homes, vehicles, farm and household implements, plus, a lovely little rose garden with some antique rose varieties. It’s a great place to stop for an afternoon picnic! Continued on Next Page….

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San Benito County Continued … Wildflowers, Birds and Butterflies Pinnacles National Park is America’s newest and 59th national park in the system. For flower, bird and butterfly lovers this park is heaven. Besides the 600 plus flowering plants, there are oaks, pines, ferns and mosses. Of course, as you examine the wildflowers, you keep an eye out hoping for a glimpse of a California Condor flying overhead. Pinnacles National Park is the only NPS unit that manages a release site for captive bred California condors. A wonderful spring adventure, the park is of geological significance, and boasts beautiful and diverse habitats that are home to over 140 birds species of birds, 49 mammals, 22 reptiles, 8 amphibians, 71 butterflies, 41 dragonflies and damselflies, over 500 moth species and more than 400 bee species. There are plenty of hiking trails, (32 miles of them), and you can go bird and wildlife watching, caving, rock-climbing, picnicking, camping and star gazing. Learn more about the park at

Stay and Play! When it comes to lodging, the Joshua Inn Bed & Breakfast is a beautiful 1902 Queen Anne-style Victorian home in historic downtown Hollister. It has a charming garden and is across the street from Dunne Park, that also has a memorial rose garden. Ridgemark Golf & Country Club is another great lodging choice with spacious guest suites with private patios that overlook the 18-hole championship golf course, designated as a "Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary." If you’re traveling by RV, Bolado Park Event Center in Tres Pinos has lovely shaded RV and campsites. Don’t miss these upcoming events including the Annual Downtown Hollister Plant Sale & Garden Expo (April 16); the Bi-Annual San Juan Bautista Cactus & Succulent Show (April 23-24); and Hollister Wine & Beer Stroll (May 7). To plan your San Benito County Garden Getaway, visit



From San Diego’s Coastline to the Colorado River in Yuma By Lisa D. Smith

Spring has sprung in Southern California and in the Desert Southwest, and what better way to celebrate this vibrant and colorful season than with a nature infused roadtrip! From feathers to paws, petals to hooves, there’s a multitude of flora and fauna species to experience. Winged wonders range from black oyster catchers to roadrunners, burrowing owls to hummingbirds, butterflies to bats and dragonflies. Wildlife is diverse with dolphins, foxes, wolves, bobcat, deer, burros and more. And there’s all kinds of plantlife, from cool coastal succulents to lush forest and meadow wildflowers, brilliant desert cactus blossoms to fan palms and beautiful riverside cottonwood trees. This journey into nature runs from San Diego’s spectacular coastline to its breathtaking forest and mountain region, and across the dramatic desert wilderness to Yuma’s exhuberant Colorado River Delta. So put on your hiking boots, grab your binoculars, and pack your camera bag for a threeday to three-week adventure – we’re going way beyond the usual three hour drive on Interstate 8!

A stop on the Pacific Flyway, over 200 bird species make their home here including black oyster catchers, red tail hawks, California quail, orangecrowned warblers, Brant’s cormorants, great blue herons and black-crowned night herons. You may get lucky and see a garden slender salamander, Mexican long-tongued bat, or a gray fox. From the Mojave yucca to California buckwheat, the four plant communities include southern coastal bluff scrub, maritime succulent scrub, Diegan coastal sage scrub, and southern maritime chaparral. Cabrillo has one of the best-protected and easily accessible rocky intertidal areas in southern California. The 2-mile Bayside Trail offers beautiful ocean views and provides a chance to see spring and summer wildflowers. There are also daily ranger led nature walks and a special spring wildflower exhibit in the visitor center. Visit

COASTAL CONNECTION Start at Cabrillo National Monument in Point Loma Steeped in history and known for its signature lighthouse complete with a demonstration kitchen garden, Cabrillo National Monument also has a biologically diverse ecosystem. PAGE 44

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Cruise North on Scenic Highway 101 Upon leaving Point Loma, make your way to Interstate 5 and head north to the coastal community of La Jolla, known as ‘The Jewel’. Nature highlights include Torrey Pines State Beach and Torrey Pines State Park that has phenomenal ocean views, Birch Aquarium at Scripps, and La Jolla Ecological Preserve and the popular Seal Beach. Put the top down and cruise north on the scenic and historic Highway 101 that runs along the coastline and passes funky beach towns and charming seaside villages including Del Mar, Solana Beach, Cardiff-by-the-Sea, Encinitas, Leucadia, Carlsbad and Oceanside. From Fletcher Cove to Swami’s Beach and the Oceanside Pier, there are plenty of public and state park beaches to stop and take a stroll, a dip or to get some coastal bird watching in. A couple of other nature stops include San Diego Botanic Garden in Encinitas, and the 400-acre Agua Hedionda Lagoon. For more details visit ‘Spring into the Colors of Nature’ at The Flower Fields A Southern California tradition for over for over sixty years, every spring around 160,000 people head to The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch® to experience one of the largest flower displays in the world. ‘Color Your World’ and witness 50 spectacular acres of blossoming ranunculas, along with roses, orchids, sweet pea blossoms, petunias and poinsettias. From tractor rides to live music, photography workshops and picnics, there are a variety of family friendly activities to enjoy within these fabulous fields of color, not to mention the picturesque ocean views. Located right off Interstate 5, The Flower Fields spring bloom runs from March 1st through May 8th. See for full details.

Photo by Marcie Gonzalez

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Spring Nature Trippin’ Continued…

MOUNTAIN MAGIC From The Flower Fields, head north on Interstate 5 and go east on Highway 76 towards Fallbrook. Urban North San Diego County will slowly ease into lush spring countryside of the greater Fallbrook and Bonsall area. As you cross over Interstate 15 into Pala and Pauma Valley, the road will start to wind up towards the mountains on a colorful route through flower farms, nurseries, farm stands and casinos. The drive is beautiful with wildflowers and valley views. Palomar Mountain, California From Highway 76, go left at South Grade Road / Palomar Mountain Rd, and head up the steep road to mile-high Palomar Mountain. Here you’ll experience dense forests of pine, fir and cedar, wildflowers, verdant meadows, and stunning panoramic views. A fantastic bird watching destination, Palomar Mountain State Park has a number of hiking trails and picnic spots, a fishing pond, as well as a campground. Bailey’s Palomar Resort, just a few minutes from the park, is a wonderful retreat for those who want to sleep amongst the trees, whether its in a historic cabin or luxury campsite. One of the most popular attractions in the region is the Palomar Observatory, home to the famous 200-inch Hale Telescope. Visit the museum and take a guided tour.

Julian, California Head back down Palomar Mountain and turn left onto Highway 76 and head towards Lake Henshaw. Turn right on Highway 79 towards Santa Ysabel and Julian. Watch for deer and wild turkeys on this drive, and enjoy the scenic rolling hills, grassy fields and regal oak trees. Turn left onto Highway 78 / 79 at the crossroads in Santa Ysabel, and go up the hill to Julian, a popular and historic gold rush town. Spring is spectacular in Julian with apple and pear orchards in full bloom, green vineyards, and roadsides adorned with wildflowers, lilacs, sweetpeas, iris and daffodils. This charming mountain hamlet celebrates their flower power with three spring events: Julian Daffodil Show (March 12-13); Julian Wildflower Show (May 4-7); Apple Blossom Tea (June 10). Continued on Next Page…



Spring Nature Trippin’ Continued…. Spend a day at Lake Cuyamaca where you can go boating, take a hike and enjoy a lakeside picnic. This high desert mountain region has numerous hiking trails to explore including Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, Volcan Mountain Wilderness Preserve, Santa Ysabel Open Space Preserve. From bluebirds to woodpeckers, deer to bobcat, you’re sure to get your bird and wildlife watching fix here, and you’ll definitely see a variety of wildflowers. The California Wolf Center in Julian, is a must-visit for any wildlife enthusiast. Wolves once roamed North America in countless numbers, but were hunted nearly to extinction in the lower 48 United States. Today in the U.S., the iconic melody of a howling wolf pack is heard in only a handful of states, as wolves have been exterminated from a vast majority of their original range. The California Wolf Center is working to bring wild wolves back to suitable habitats and ensure successful coexistence. The Center is home to several packs of gray wolves, including an impressive pack of Rocky Mountain gray wolves, and multiple packs of Mexican gray wolves. The Center offers educational tours and programs – see



Listen to Erin Hunt, California Wolf Center, on Big Blend Radio! Continued on Next Page…


In Julian, San Diego’s Four-Season Mountain & Back-Country Destination Fresh, Seasonal & Outstanding Farm-to-Table Cuisine prepared by Executive Chef Jeremy Manley Seasonal Menu & Favorites Steak, Seafood, Burgers, Salads, Sandwiches Desserts & After Dinner Beverages Vegetarian, Vegan & Gluten-Free Options

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Open Daily for Lunch & Dinner Indoor, Fireside & Patio Dining Live Music on Weekends Wine & Beer Pairing Dinners Private Banquet Rooms Thanksgiving & Christmas Holiday Menus Catering & Group Events for all Occasions

Wine Bar featuring Local & Regional Wines & Champagne Micro-Brews & Specialty Beers

Visit and sign up for our e-Newsletter for Recipes, Special Events, Giveaways, and more! Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. PAGE 49

Spring Nature Trippin’ Continued… DESERT DRAMA From Julian, drive down the rugged Banner Grade (Highway 78), east towards Borrego Springs. Anza Borrego Desert State Park, California As you descend into the over 600,000 acres of the vast Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, the scenery will open up to dramatic desert views. Named after the Spanish explorer Juan Bautista de Anza and the Spanish word borrego, or bighorn sheep, the park features wildflowers, palm grove oases, and a variety of cactus. Keep a look out for Swainson’s hawks, roadrunners, golden eagles, kit foxes, mule deer and bighorn sheep. The largest state park in California, Anza-Borrego is an anchor in the Mojave and Colorado Deserts Biosphere Reserve. Here you can go camping, hiking, bird and wildlife watching, star gazing, and attend ranger programs and interpretive events about the area’s flora and fauna, as well as its rich cultural and geological history.

Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge, California From Borrego Springs, head southeast toward’s Ocotillo Wells on Borrego Springs Road, and turn left on Highway 78. This scenic route will take you through the low desert where you’ll see the spiny coral-like Ocotillo plants with the tips of their stalks in bloom (depending on the season). At the end of the road, turn right onto Highway 86 / 78 towards Westmoreland in Imperial County, where you’ll visit the Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge. Located 227 feet below sea level, along the Pacific Flyway, the Refuge is a protected breeding ground for birds and wild animals, and is made up of wetlands, native tree habitat and croplands. Home to the most diverse variety of bird species found on any national wildlife refuge in the west, the Refuge has over 400 bird species on record including waterfowl, marsh and shorebirds, songbirds, and birds of prey. Be sure to stop by the Visitor Center where there’s a self-guided trail, an observation tower and picnic area. For details visit _Sea/. Continued on Next Page…

From Highway 78, turn left and go up S3 towards the small desert town of Borrego Springs. Once there, go left at the traffic circle and follow the signs to the park’s visitor center where you can follow a nature trail through the desert garden, view pupfish, and see exhibits. See


Spring Nature Trippin’ Continued… RIVER ROMANCE From the Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge head back to Westmoreland and go east on Highway 78, and pass through Brawley, to go south on S33 to Holtville, known for it’s carrot production. It’s a scenic drive through agricutural fields as you head to Interstate 8, where you’ll go east to Yuma, Arizona, passing by the striking sand dunes at Imperial Sand Dunes Recreational Area. Yuma, Arizona Exit Interstate 8 onto 4th Avenue, and follow the signs east on 1st Street to the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area. The lower Colorado River in Yuma was historically the best place to cross into California. Today, it’s a recreational playground, and has become a haven for bird watchers and nature enthusiasts. From yellow-headed blackbirds to the Yuma clapper rail, nearly 400 bird species call the greater Yuma their temporary or permanent home. Local wildlife includes beaver and muskrat, fox, burros, big horn sheep and deer. The region’s habitat is diverse with the spectacular Sonoran desert, Colorado River Delta, agricultural fields, palm tree oases, marsh areas and lakes.



Dustin Mylius, Yuma Visitors Bureau, discusses Spring in Yuma, AZ

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Big Blend Radio interview with Ralph and Ken about Canoeing in Yuma!



Big Blend Radio interview with Richard Stamp & Espy Matlock about the Yuma Wetlands!

Bird species in the wetlands include osprey, kingfishers, burrowing owls, killdeer, loons, Yuma clapper rails, ibises, egrets, a variety of herons and ducks, least bitterns, yellow-headed blackbirds,Vermillion flycatchers, roadrunners, woodpeckers, quail, thrashers, hawks, warblers, and wading birds. It’s a terrific area to enjoy a picnic lunch in the shade. Spring Nature Trippin’ Continued… The best places to go bird watching and wildlife watching, are in the Yuma Wetlands and regional wildlife refuges. The West and East Yuma Wetlands are connected by the Colorado River, and a walking / bicycling trail. The West Wetlands Park has a Hummingbird Garden and Butterfly Garden, and East Wetlands has walking paths along the Colorado River and around the restored wetland areas and cottonwood groves.

Regional areas to go birding, hiking and wildlife watching include Mittry Lake, neighboring Picacho Peak California State Park, and the Cibola, Kofa and Imperial National Wildlife Refuges. The Yuma Audubon Society hosts field trips throughout the year, and the City of Yuma Parks and Recreation Department also hosts kayak and canoe trips. Following the irrigation canals offers up even more birding opportunities. To plan your Yuma and Colorado River nature adventure see

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On Feb. 12, 2016, President Obama designated three new national monuments protecting California’s spectacular and unique desert lands. These monuments include Mojave Trails, Sand to Snow, and America’s 410th national park site, Castle Mountains National Monument. Building on the conservation legacy, dynamic public support, and thriving tourism economy of the California desert, these monuments create one of the world’s largest desert reserves, protecting vital wildlife connectivity corridors and habitat, and preserving the historic and cultural resources of the region. America’s newest national monuments will preserve 1.8 million acres of public lands connecting fragile ecosystems into one of the largest and most diverse protected areas of desert lands in the world.


In time for the National Park Service’s centennial, Castle Mountains National Monument is America’s newest national park site. Managed by the National Park Service and surrounded on three sides by Mojave National Preserve, Castle Mountains National Monument protects a stunning landscape rich in Native American and Western history, wildlife including bighorn sheep and mountain lions, and vast Joshua tree forests. Together, the three new monuments complete landscape connections between existing national park sites in the region: Mojave National Preserve, Joshua Tree National Park and Lake Mead National Recreation Area. When considered as a whole, and inclusive of Death Valley National Park, this vast and connected network represents one of the greatest desert conservation reserves in the world. President Obama’s monument designation represents the most significant California desert conservation move in more than 20 years, since the passage of the California Desert Protection Act, (CDPA) authored by Senator Dianne Feinstein.

Listen to the Big Blend Radio interview with David Lamfrom, Director of the National Parks Conservation Association’s California Desert and Wildlife Programs. Photos by David Lamfrom.


Desert Bighorn Sheep

“National Parks Conservation Association and our more than one million members, supporters, and partners commend President Obama, his administration, and longtime desert champion Senator Feinstein for this powerful, landscape-level conservation action,” said the organization’s President and CEO Theresa Pierno. “For more than two decades, local communities and park visitors and supporters across the country have called for the protection of this landscape, which connects important wildlife corridors and critical habitat surrounding our desert national parks.

Desert Bighorn Sheep

These national monuments will play a vital role in the longterm sustainability and health of the region, and the protection of our beautiful, diverse deserts. The Castle Mountains National Monument designation is also historic, marking the first time President Obama has used his authority to preserve a large landscape national monument within our National Park System.” Continued on Next Page…

Mojave Green Rattlesnake PAGE 55

Kit Fox New National Monuments Continued… Together, the Castle Mountains, Mojave Trails, and Sand to Snow National Monuments preserve Native American spiritual and archaeological sites, WWII General Patton training camps, abandoned ghost towns, historic Route 66, pioneer trails, stunning vistas, iconic desert wildlife species, critical wildlife corridors, diverse desert mountain ranges, and unusual geologic formations. “The visionary designation of three beautiful, important, and diverse desert lands surrounding national parks in the California desert will forever protect and connect the greater landscape, for the benefit of all,” said Thomas E. Lovejoy, professor of Photo Above: Mojave Mound Cactus environmental science and policy at George Mason Photo Below: Castle Mountains with Joshua Trees University. Desert Spiny Lizard


Long Eared Owl

New National Monuments Continued‌ Since their creation, Joshua Tree and Death Valley National Parks and the Mojave National Preserve have become significant economic drivers in the California desert. In 2014, the three national park sites welcomed more than three million visitors, adding $194 million to the region’s economy and supporting more than 2,700 jobs. Adding Castle Mountains National Monument to the National Park System will continue to support a robust tourism economy in the California desert and surrounding communities. Learn more at

Photo Above: Joshua Tree Blooms Photo Below: Burrowing Owls

Desert Tortoise


Listen to the Big Blend Radio interview with Mark Wenzler - Senior Vice President of Conservation Programs for National Parks Conservation Association, and Caeli Quinn – Co-founder and Executive Director of Climate Ride.

Climate Ride: Climate Ride is a nonprofit organization that organizes life-changing charitable cycling and hiking events to raise awareness and support sustainability, active transportation, and environmental causes such as the National Parks Conservation Association. While making an extraordinary contribution to a cause they care about, participants get the experience of a lifetime through some of America's most beautiful landscapes. They also get to meet and network with leaders in sustainability, renewable energy, and environmental causes while raising awareness of their cause. Listen to the Big Blend Radio interview with Caeli Quinn who discusses some of upcoming 2016 Climate Ride and Hiking adventures that explore Death Valley National Park, Glacier National Park, Acadia National Park, and more.


Southwestern Parks in Peril: The crown jewels of our National Park System are at a crossroads. And it is up to each of us to determine which path they take. Decisions made now about development just outside their borders could forever change these incredible places. The Obama Administration has an opportunity to ensure outside interests do not forever mar our national parks. Listen to the Big Blend Radio interview with Mark Wenzler who discusses some of the issues facing southwestern #ParksinPeril, including Grand Canyon National Park and Mojave National Preserve. Learn more at

Learn more at


Listen to the Big Blend Radio panel discussion about island culture and lifestyle, issues such as climate change that affect islands, as well as action steps to take to protect and sustain islands including eco-tourism, clean energy, eco-conscious product purchasing and real estate. Featured Guests on the Big Blend Radio Panel:

Makana – Hawaii-based awardwinning and internationally acclaimed slack key guitarist, singer and composer who is widely known for lending his musical talent for social change. Music featured on this segment includes ‘Hi’ilawe’ and ‘We Are the Many,’ off of Makana’s album RIPE. See

Les McCabe – Executive Director of Global Green USA, the American affiliate of Green Cross International, founded by President Gorbachev to foster a global value shift toward a sustainable and secure future. For 20 years, Global Green USA has been a national leader in advancing smart solutions to climate change that improve lives and protect our planet. Visit PAGE 59


Carlisle Richardson - Former Ambassador of St. Kitts and Nevis to the UN, former UN Economic Affairs Officer and author of, "Island Journeys: The Impact of the Island Way of Life at Home and Abroad." See

According to Adam Roberts, "Born Free's Year of the Lion campaign is reflective of the film's anniversary that started it all, as well as the fact 2016 YEAR OF THE LION that, today, the fight for the survival of lions in the On the 50th anniversary of the iconic, awardwild has never been more urgent. Experts believe winning motion picture Born Free, Born Free their numbers have plummeted to fewer than Foundation and Born Free USA have declared 20,000 across Africa as their habitat dwindles and 2016 The Year of the Lion. Elsa the lioness becomes more fragmented; as horrific retaliatory captured the hearts and minds of a worldwide killings are perpetrated; and as hundreds of lions audience in the 1966 classic film Born Free—but, are slaughtered each year by trophy hunters in the today, the international wildlife charity that bears its name of 'sport.' It is imperative that their plight is name sounds the alarm over the future of lions. The immediately taken seriously. The species' decline film starred legendary actress Virginia McKenna has been rapid and steep. Without concerted action and her late husband, Bill Travers, portraying the at all levels of government globally, the species pioneering conservationists George and Joy could disappear from significant parts of Africa Adamson and their successful rehabilitation of Elsa during our lifetime." to the wild. For further information on Year of the Lion, visit


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Big Blend Radio interview with Adam Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA and Born Free Foundation about lions.


SRI LANKA IVORY CRUSH On January 26, 2016, International Customs Day, the Sri Lankan government destroyed more than 350 elephant tusks. To demonstrate Sri Lanka’s commitment to combatting the illegal wildlife trade, the country’s president, Maithripala Sirisena, as well as ministers, diplomats, and other distinguished guests—including John E. Scanlon, Secretary-General of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) and Born Free’s Country Representative for Sri Lanka, elephant scientist Manori Gunawardena— witnessed the permanent destruction of hundreds of seized ivory tusks. Gunawardena believes the event signaled a strong willingness for her country to combat illegal trade at the international as well as national level: “I am relieved that it’s finally happening and am thrilled at the buy-in from the president and prime minister. Sri Lanka is making a very strong statement by going ahead with the destruction with the support of the highest levels of government. This event will educate Sri Lankans on the gravity of global wildlife crime and its impact on their country. Culturally, the Sri Lankan public will never condone the slaughter of elephants.” Based on Born Free’s monitoring of reports relating to ivory seizures, it is estimated that more than 139,000 elephants have been poached for their ivory since January 2012. Learn more at


Big Blend Radio interview with Adam Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA and Born Free Foundation about the ivory crush. Born Free USA is a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation, and public education, Born Free USA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic "pets," trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade. Born Free USA brings to North America the message of "compassionate conservation"—the vision of the United Kingdom-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film Born Free, along with their son, Will Travers. Born Free's mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally. See


Spring Sequoia Adventure Five Fun Experiences in Tulare County, California, by Lisa D. Smith Tulare County in central California is home to Sequoia and King Canyon National Parks, Giant Sequoia National Monument and Sequoia National Forest. From olives to table grapes, citrus to nuts, peaches and plums, region is well known for its agricultural production. Many of the towns and cities such as Visalia, Exeter, Porterville and Tulare have delightful historic downtown districts with boutique shopping, delectable dining, art galleries, theatres and performance venues. Three Rivers is an art community that hugs the edge of Kaweah River and stretches up into the foothills. Full of flower-powered color and lush from winter rains, spring is a beautiful time of year to visit the region and enjoy the many events and festivities that range from art walks to musical concerts, garden parties, car and tractor shows, festivals and parades. Savor The Arts From ceramicists to muralists, Tulare County is home to numerous artists and has a thriving calendar of art events to experience. Most of the historic downtowns tell their community’s stories through colorful murals. One of the best ways to ‘Savor The Arts’ in California’s Sequoia Country is to attend the various art walks, studio tours, exhibits and festivals. Three Rivers is a vibrant art community at the gateway to Sequoia National Park. The local artists joined together to create the special monthly 1st Saturday Three Rivers Art Day. Continued on Next Page…


Spring Sequoia Adventure Continued…


Featuring a different theme each time, you can visit artist’s studios and see exhibits, demonstrations and even musical performances in local businesses, restaurants, gift shops, and galleries (most of them offering a special). Mark your calendars for the annual Redbud Arts & Crafts Festival on May 7 & 8. Exeter, another gateway community to Sequoia National Park, has a charming historic downtown district that’s decorated with over 30 murals portraying the history, natural beauty and people of Exeter. You can take a self-guided tour or book a special guided group tour – be sure to look for the hidden pictures within the murals! Currently the Exeter Courthouse Gallery, which is connected to the town’s museum, has the exhibit ‘Woman in Focus’ featuring Rhonda K. Michalk Photography. The gallery is open on weekends, and the exhibit ends on March 31st. Continued on Next Page…


Leah Launey talks with Big Blend Radio about Spring in Three Rivers!

Spring in Sequoias Continued… Put on your walking shoes and visit some of historic downtown Visalia’s art galleries, or enjoy the evening at Porterville’s First Friday Art Walk in the historic downtown. The 3-day South Valley Artists Studio Tour (March 18-20) is a fabulous way to meet local artists, visit their studios, and also explore the region. The Magic of Live Music From festivals to symphonies, live music is the heartbeat of Tulare County. One of the main musical venues is the historic Visalia Fox Theatre where you can often see local talent perform or catch a national act that’s on tour. Some of their main upcoming shows include: ‘In The Mood: A 1940’s Musical (March 10) and ‘The Reunion: A Fantasy Tribute to The Beatles’ (March 23), plus two Tulare County Symphony performances (March 19 & April 9). Other upcoming musical happenings in Visalia include Giacomo Puccini’s opera masterwork “Madama Butterfly” at Main Street Theater (March 4 & 6), and the Annual Visalia Brews, Blues & BBQ (April 1). Three Rivers Performing Arts is dedicated to providing high quality performing arts, especially classical music, to Three Rivers and Visalia. Their upcoming concerts include violinist Francesca de Pascuale (March 12 & 13), The Calidore String Quartet Artist Residency (May 13 – 23). If you love jazz, then Three Rivers should be on your radar. The High Sierra Traditional Jazz Band will perform an afternoon concert on March 12, and the 43rd Annual JazzAffair features traditional jazz from April 8-10, with a pre-festival kick-off on April 7th. Continued on Next Page…


Spring in Sequoias Continued… Gardens, Giants & Wildflowers When visiting California’s Sequoia Country during the spring, expect to experience intoxicating orange blossoms, flowering nut and fruit orchards, fragrant flower gardens in homes and historic downtowns, and vivid wildflowers in the foothills. Of course, the big must-do when visiting Tulare County, is to experience the Giant Sequoia Trees in Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks, both connected with the Giant Sequoia National Monument and the Sequoia National Forest. Three Rivers, Lake Kaweah, and the foothills of Sequoia National Park are all aglow with golden poppies and a colorful palette of spring wildflowers. The garden party calendar kicks off on April 23rd at the Annual Porterville Iris Festival. On May 1st, Exeter hosts its 15th Annual Garden Party, along with its 13th Annual Full Bloom Garden Walk on May 7. When you’re in the Exeter be sure to visit Bravo Lake Botanical Garden in neighboring Woodlake. It’s a beautiful place where you can bird watch, photograph, picnic, and stroll through the various flower and edible gardens which cover just over a mile or so. Continued on Next Page…


Sandy Blankenship & Betsy Peterson talk with Big Blend Radio about Spring Garden Events in Exeter!

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Spring in Sequoias Continued… Step Back in Time Tulare County is rich in farm and ranching history, as well as pioneer, Native American, military, and natural history. Each community has historic sites and museums that showcase the area’s people, places and way of life. The historic downtowns hold onto a ‘Small Town America’ sense-of-place and make for a fascinating stroll through time. Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks also have stories of the past to share including natural history and geology, conservation and cultural. Special events and programs help to keep history alive. Rev your engines for Tulare’s Cars in the Park show of street rods, vintage classics, muscle cars and trucks, on April 2. The California Antique Farm Equipment Show will be held at the International Agri-Center from April 15-17. Mark your calendar for the 66th Annual Three Rivers Lions Team Roping that runs April 21-24. Festivals, Races & Parades Tulare County definitely loves to celebrate life with a good festival, a lively parade and a whacky festival. Though these special events are high on the fun-meter, most of them are part of a fundraising effort or have an educational component. Visalia gets into the Celtic spirit of things at the Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade on March 12, and then at the Tulare County Renaissance Festival on April 23 & 24. It must be the art genes that runs through Three Rivers that sparked the idea of racing bathtubs for charity! On March 26, the Annual Bathtub Race and Picnic is held at Lake Kaweah where pre-registered teams build floatable steerable boats from cast iron bathtubs and the raw materials provided, then race across Lake Kaweah and back! To plan your Spring Sequoia Adventure, visit PAGE 66

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By Linda Kissam ‘Food, Wine & Shopping Diva’ “Experiential travel” (also known as immersion travel), is a form of tourism in which people focus on experiencing a particular place by connecting to its history, people and culture. For me, this would mean “connecting” through local food, wine and art. The immersion generally begins with the traveler getting guidance on how to experience a place through a friend or host who has knowledge of the local scene. In this case, that local host or friend would be me. The traveler would be you. The best way to experience a place can come about in many ways, but for me it is less defined by thread count at an expensive hotel and YELP scores and more by an insider’s access to the people, places and experiences that represent all that is authentic and heartfelt about a destination. There’s no denying that upscale comfort factors still apply. Elevated standards of accommodation and dining will always show up on my itinerary, however today’s traveler seeks a broader depth of understanding and engagement to local culture than ever before. People don’t just want to see – they want to absorb and engage with their destination through unique offerings. What’s so special about Seattle? Just about everything you can think of, Seattle excels at. Think beautiful greenscapes, world class coffee, an innovative culinary scene, ferries, islands, tall buildings, gawd-awful traffic, rain, a walkable downtown, food markets, boating, an eccentric art scene and wineries galore.

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Linda Kissam discusses Seattle on Big Blend Radio! Here’s my suggestions on how to immerse yourself in Seattle. Sleep in local splendor by booking a two day stay at Hotel Vintage Park (A Kimpton property) in downtown Seattle. It’s a high-end boutique style hotel with all the amenities a guest could want. So unlike a normal hotel, it is an experience in itself. Rooms are spacious and updated in understated wine colors for an urban elegance feel. Room service and concierge assistance is available. Tulio Restaurant is adjacent to the hotel bringing Italian cuisine to its highest level, and an afternoon wine reception completes the picture of guest-pampered comforts. This is a pet friendly hotel where each pet is truly welcomed and truly celebrated. It is centrally located for whatever the guest has in mind to experience. Take a sip at Chateau Ste. Michelle in Woodinville. The Hotel Vintage Concierge will be able to assist you in your plans, or call Uber for transport. It’s about a 30 minute ride (without traffic) to the winery, from the hotel. Book the Ultimate Tour & Tasting ($85-$100 PER PERSON) to get a real feel for what this winery has to offer. About 90 minutes and by appointment only. Be sure to mention you would like to taste the Artist Series wines. There may be an upcharge, but it will be worth it. Take home a few bottles of wine (can be shipped to many states) including the gorgeous commemorative set of three available Artist Series wines. Check the Ste. Michelle web site for additional onsite events, like outdoor concerts featuring famous name artists. This place knows how to treat its guests. Even if you are an “old hand” at visiting wineries, this place has a rich history and future you’ll enjoy being a part of. Locals love and support this place. Continued on Next Page… PAGE 69

This place is a set of rooms that explore the various art stages of the artist providing a look at the inspiration and influences that formed the career of artist Dale Chihuly. The Exhibition includes eight Galleries, the centerpiece Glasshouse and a lush Garden. It’s an experience beyond what you can imagine. The exhibit has a run time of 30 years, so while it will eventually end, it’s here for you to indulge in right now. The iconic Space Needle is about 50 feet from the art gallery and restaurant.

Seattle Continued Art is everywhere but nothing says “Seattle” like Chihuly Art. Plan a day to spend at Seattle Center immersing yourself in this hometown boy’s glass art. It is like nothing you have ever seen or experienced before. Dale Chihuly’s path to international fame is a fun and quirky one. He is definitely the captain of his own ship. Seattle Center is about 10 minutes from the hotel. Book an early lunch at the Collection’s Café (it’s part of the art experience). Reservations are a must because this place is so unique. As Dale Chihuly says, “I discovered my first collection of beach glass on the shores of Puget Sound when I was four or five years old. I’ve never stopped collecting since.” During lunch you will be part of his extensive collections. Each table has an inset where one of his collections is featured. Think vintage string dolls, radios, pocket knives, inkwells, tin toys, accordions and more. By the way, the food is fabulous.

Get out of town on a Washington State Ferry. Ferries scream “You’re in Seattle!” The iconic car and passenger boats are more than a novelty here; they’re a method of commuting for millions of Seattle-area residents. Like any public transportation system, the ferries occasionally have their problems. The boats can be late or can malfunction, but it’s still a scenic way to get from point A to B. You must make your way to Anacortes to take the ferries to most of the San Juan Islands. It’s one of those AHA! island-hopping experiences. You can shop till you drop and visit wineries on most of the islands. Make sure to visit the Lavender Retail stores (Friday Harbor) and the Sculpture Park (Roche Harbor Road at Roche Harbor).

Cruise through Pike Place Market. The market started with a few farmers in 1907 and has since grown to be a city staple. Although often swarming with tourists, Pike Place Market is still known to locals as the best place to pick up fresh produce and other products. It is widely recognized as America’s best farmer’s market and the epicenter of Seattle’s dynamic food culture. Think charming specialty mom and pop eateries, one of a kind artisan gift shops, beloved neighborhood cafes, crazy-fun fish-throwing seafood markets, important Just across from the restaurant is where the real coffee and tea merchants, gourmet chocolate and magic begins at the Chihuly Garden and Glass spice shops and a wild cast of local characters that exhibit. Book a private docent lead tour for the best will leave you alternately laughing and gasping. experience. Continued on Next Page…


Taste your way through the food scene by taking a foodie tour of Seattle. It truly is the best way to get to know the culinary scene. Try to find one that takes less than 8 people on their tours. Make sure it is a 1-2 hour walking tour. Getting on and off a bus just seems wrong on a variety of levels. If you’re lucky you will be introduced to unique and animated owners and chefs that give downtown its captivating personality and distinctive local flavor. You can never be too caffeinated – just sayin’. Coffee, coffee, coffee. I learned to drink espresso and café mochas in Seattle. For a former carbonated devotee, that’s a big deal. Although Seattle is home to legendary Starbucks, the big chains have also inspired a smaller coffee culture to exist. On nearly every street corner there are neighborhood coffee shops to explore, each one a little different. My favorite ones are the little drivethrough houses that really scream “Taste Local.” Think large backyard shed all blinged up and focused on the drive by/through customer. Grab a raincoat and galoshes to pay homage to the rain. Because Seattlites spend much of the year under cloud cover, when the sun comes out (sun break), no one takes it for granted. It may only be 62 degrees, but if it’s sunny, people come out of their houses and hotels and boats to take part in some type of outdoor activity. The rain washes away pollutants and makes the sunny skies exceptionally crisp. A brisk walk in the rain is a salute to the defining moments that make Seattle so special. No, I am not kidding, get out there and be one with nature. Jump in and appreciate all the outdoor recreation at your fingertips: In the winter, it’s a short drive up to the mountains to go skiing. During the rest of the year, the Olympic and Cascade mountain ranges and their foothills make for great hiking opportunities. City lakes are a boater’s paradise. There are plenty of places to rent boats, kayaks and canoes. If you’re there in the summer, you’ll see me on my Grand Banks yacht touring the sights and sounds of the Great Northwest.

Geoduck (pronunciation: "gooey duck") Hunting is the rule, not the exception. You’re not a real local until you’ve successfully hunted the ocean’s largest clam (up to 3 feet) with your bare hands. Sorry, but rules are rules. Dress casually, go at low tide and expect to get very wet. They are edible, but don’t look at them first. If you aren’t up for the hunt, go taste them at the beautiful waterside Taylor Shellfish Shelton Farm and Retail Store in Shelton. Catch some great smells and sights at the Washington Park Arboretum. The 230-acre Washington Park Arboretum is one of the most important tree collections in North America. It is jointly managed by UWBG (plant collections) and the City of Seattle’s Department of Parks and Recreation (park functions), with support from the Arboretum Foundation. It is at its best in the late spring and mid fall. WPA is in the top five national arboreta and botanic gardens collections in maples, magnolias, Pine family, hollies, mountain ash, oaks and viburnums and is currently a member of the North American Plant Collections Consortium (NAPCC) for maples and oaks. All parts of the Washington Park Arboretum, with the exception of the Japanese Garden, are open to the public free of charge. If you miss the Japanese Gardens, you’ll be very, very sorry. Linda Kissam 'Food, Wine & Shopping Diva' is a professional travel, food, and wine writer based out of Southern California, who specializes in easy, breezy destination stories sharing her favorite things about the places she visits. Visit


A Historic Stay in Essex, Montana By Eva Eldridge We hadn’t planned on stopping here, but after spending the day in Glacier National Park, we were ready to settle in somewhere for the night. Since it’s over a hundred miles between East Glacier and Whitefish, my husband suggested the Izaak Walton Inn. I missed the turn off and we had to turn around. After we found Izaak Walton Inn Road, we followed it around a pine tree lined curve and drove right up to it. Blooming flowers brightened the evening.


Listen to Eva Eldridge on Big Blend Radio!

There are only thirty three rooms available at the Inn which are often booked. We were lucky and acquired a room on the second floor. Large fans and open windows helped move the air because there is no air conditioning in the rooms.

We opened the window and left the door open to the hall for a bit and the room was quite comfortable. I mention this because the Izaak Walton Inn was built in 1939, and with their location in the Montana mountains, air conditioning isn’t usually required. We decided to check out the lobby, gift shop, and bar. The pine clad walls of the lobby created a warm and friendly feeling which was accented by comfortable chairs and a large stone fireplace. The gift shop contained unique handmade items, books, and many train and Montana souvenirs. I hadn’t researched the Izaak Walton Inn and was pleasantly surprised by the amount of history here, and its connection to the railroad. The Izaak Walton Inn was built to house railroad employees and guests. There is a small train yard in Essex and trains are still a significant influence in the area. The Izaak Walton Inn is a flag stop for Amtrak’s Empire Builder. That means if a ticketed passenger wants to get off here, the train will stop. There is an east bound train which arrives in the morning and a west bound train that passes through in the evening. We met a family that arrived in the morning, were going to spend the day hiking, and then catch the evening train back to Whitefish.


The bar, decorated with train memorabilia, is located in the basement. There are pool tables and an old juke box. I could imagine a bunch of railroad workers having a night out here in the distant past. The bartender talked us into a huckleberry concoction made with their own homemade huckleberry syrup. Huckleberries, which are similar to blueberries, grow in several northern states. What’s so special about them is they haven’t been successfully cultivated. All the huckleberry products are from fruit picked in the wild. The bar is full service and offers locally distilled whiskey, also. I’m not a whiskey drinker so I can’t comment on the quality. Just off the bar is a media room with a television and an assortment of DVD’s, games, and a toy train. One of the things I noticed about the Inn was the comfortable chairs and couches everywhere inviting the guests to relax and enjoy themselves. The next morning we enjoyed a full breakfast in the Dining Car restaurant. It was a welcome change from the chain motel’s breakfast buffets. The restaurant is open all day and even if you’re not staying at the Inn, it’s a good place to stop and have a bite between East and West Glacier. I mentioned the train theme here, right? A different way to experience the train would be to stay in one of the refurbished cabooses or the luxurious refurbished engine. The cabooses are set among the pines on the other side of the railroad tracks. You can access the cabooses and family cabins by a lovely walking bridge that crosses the railroad tracks. During the winter, you can cross country ski in and out of the cabins and cabooses. There are miles of trails around this area for hiking and cross country skiing. The Middle Fork Flathead River is just across Highway 2 and if you take the train in to Essex, you can rent a car to explore the area. The Izaak Walton Inn is located in Essex, Montana off of Highway 2, between East Glacier and West Glacier. It’s a lovely place to get away from the normal hustle and bustle of modern life. There are no televisions or phones in the rooms and the internet isn’t the big attraction here. You can find more information on the Inn at Photos by Veronika Kovacova / Eva Eldridge is a contributing writer for Big Blend Radio & TV Magazine. She also writes fiction and poetry. Visit PAGE 73

Paris! Monte-Carlo! Nice and St. Tropez! For many who visit France, these are the first destinations that come to mind. The City of Light and the JetSet Riviera are all amazing, but maybe you’ve ‘been there-done that’. If you’re searching for a more relaxing and engaging way to enjoy France, and all the delicious delights it offers, here are a few ideas. Get off the beaten track. Venturing into the smaller villages is a fabulous way to immerse oneself in the daily life of a country and its people. Imagine spending your well-earned vacation time relaxing in a seaside café with a glass of local wine, or walking down a narrow, quiet village road in search of whatever is around the next corner. How about taking a leisurely drive to a nearby winery or cheese producer or…well, you get the idea. Live like a local. To best experience a culture, rather than look at it from the edges, is to rent a small flat or house. There has been a huge rise in popularity of online sites like HomeAway and Airbnb in the last few years, as travellers discover this more intimate and interactive type of accommodation.


Listen to Hilarie Larson discuss Wine and Travel on Big Blend Radio! Having your own home away from home invites you to get out and discover your destination in a way that a hotel never can. You’ll find yourself exploring local shops and the ‘Super Marche’, the nearby wine merchant and weekly market. You’ll discover your favorite café for ‘apero time’ and a restaurant down the street that feels so comfortable you don’t want to leave.

Take the village of Sainte-Maxime as an example. Never heard of it? Perhaps you’re more familiar with familiar destinations, like Cannes or nearby St. Tropez? Now, St. Tropez is beautiful, there is no question on that score. But if you’d like to experience a French Riviera that’s a little quieter, laid back and yes, a little easier on the budget, Sainte-Maxime fits the bill. PAGE 74

This picture perfect, seaside town has many of the wonderful attributes of its well-known neighbor: a charming marina filled with a mix of small fishing boats and luxury yachts, a beautiful seaside promenade lined with tempting shops, sidewalk cafes and plenty of narrow, cobblestoned streets that beckon you to explore and wander; slowly, very slowly. What you won’t find are crowds, inflated prices, and, dare I say it, posers! On a recent visit, we rented a comfortable 2nd floor flat in the heart of the town. We looked out onto the busy, pedestrian filled street– the colorful outdoor market just down the road to the left, our favorite restaurants a few doors away and the seaside a short stroll around the corner. We woke to the chimes of the nearby church bells and the sounds of delivery trucks. In the morning, I would walk a few blocks to La Tarte Tropézienne for croissant, pain au raisin and, of course, a baguette! After a few days, the woman behind the counter began to recognize me and suffered my attempts at the French language with a smile. We’d spend our days strolling the marina or shopping for food in the market or ‘Les Halles’, an indoor marketplace brimming with vendors selling fresh fish, cheese, flowers, fruit, olives and every other delectable thing you could want. We’d go to see the wine merchant whom we met last year and chat about our love of the wines of southern France and wineries we’d visited and his love for California. After purchasing a few bottles, we’d head down to Le Café de France for a glass of rosé, watch the passing parade and talk of what we might do in the coming days. We decided tomorrow would be a good day to take the Bateau Verts across the bay and visit St. Tropez – have some lunch and see what all the fuss is about.


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Hilarie Larson’s passion for wine began in the 1970’s while in the European hospitality industry. In 2003 she began her wine career in earnest in her native British Columbia, Canada, working at several Okanagan Valley wineries where she was able to assist in the vineyard and cellar as well as the tasting rooms. Along the way, she acquired her certificate from the Court of Master Sommelier, worked for an international wine broker and as ‘Resident Sommelier’ for wineries in Washington State and California. Hilarie’s greatest joy is spreading the gospel of wine, food and travel. In addition to her own blogs at Which leads me to what may be the most important, she part – Get out of your comfort zone. contributes articles to a number of online While you will encounter fewer English speakers in publications. She was honored to be awarded the the ‘petite villages’ than in the major cities, don’t let 2013 Emerging Writer Scholarship from the that deter you. Learn a few phrases, smile, get out International Food, Wine and Travel Writers your smartphone equipped with a translator app Association, for whom she is now the (there are several from which to choose), and pack Administrative Director. your sense of humor. Fabulous France Continued… Perhaps, we pondered, we could visit some of the wineries nearby later in the week – there’s Château Minuty, Château des Marres and Domaine de la Croix. But there were more pressing decisions to be made, such as where to go for dinner – fabulous Pizza at Trattoria Mama Mia or Provencal perfection at La Flambeau? “Remember the first time we went there and the owner was a bit aloof and abrupt? We thought it was our horrible French, but the next time, she remembered us and was so friendly?”

Several years ago, we stayed in a charming ‘gite’ attached to a large estate in the midst of a vineyard in southern France, run by a young man and his mother. He spoke a smattering of English and she none. By the second day, we were all sipping rose in the courtyard and they were teaching us to play ‘petanque’. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a little awkward at first, but in the end, the experience is at the top of very long memory list. PAGE 76

Highland Way Celtic Band Host a Musical Group Tour Through Scotland Listen to the Big Blend Radio interview with Brian Caldwell, founder of Highland Way, about their upcoming Flower of Scotland Tour and latest album ‘By Land & Sea: Songs for a Journey’.


Experience a musical tour of Scotland with Highland Way. Be more than a tourist; accompany Brian on this once in a lifetime experience, exploring Scotland while steeping yourself in the culture you love. From Glasgow to the Highlands and beyond you’ll explore castles and lochs, experience history, music, ceilidhs, dancing, and then some. The tour runs from August 22September 1, 2016. Some of the sightseeing highlights include: Glasgow, Wallace Monument, Doune Castle, Loch Lomond, Oban Distillery, Glenfinnan Monument, Glencoe Visitor Center, Dalwinie Distillery, St. Andrews Castle & Cathedral, Stirling Castle, Battle of Bannockburn Experience, Burns’ Cottage, and Edinburgh Castle. Hop on Board for a Musical Tour through Scotland with Highland Way! Learn more at


By Henry Biernacki, ‘The Global Henry’

The secluded beach getaways, where it feels like you are the only one around, seem to be gone. With some research and slight planning these countries, cities, and beaches can be discovered. Island paradises seem to be far out of reach for tourists and travelers alike, but any place is a step away. French Polynesia is separated into 5 groups of islands and, in total, comprises of 118 islands in the South Pacific. This area is just an eight and a half hour flight from Los Angeles. Just over half of the islands are populated. This seclusion is an outstanding way to exit ones comfort zone. We are forced to go out of our way to learn a new way of living, solving problems, and listening. Each island provides a little peek into discovering ourselves better. If you want to travel in complete style, some islands have wondrous overwater bungalows. You can fly or take a boat to most of the islands to begin your adventure. The secluded getaways seem to be out of our reach, when in reality, it is simply making a decision to go out and make time to discover them. French Polynesia is exactly one of those places; make time to discover yourself in one of the hidden islands or go in luxury to simply enjoy being surrounded by water. Henry Biernacki is a world traveler to over 130 countries, an airline captain and line check airman, and also the author of the novel 'No More Heroes'. Visit PAGE 78


Listen to Henry Biernacke on Big Blend Radio!


GEAR UP & GO! Travel Products for Photographers and Folks On-The-Go! Compiled by Lisa D. Smith

Whether you are a traveler, photographer, music lover or a person who is always on-the-go, what you carry around with you must be effective in function and in style – just like these four fabulous products: Tenba Camera Bag’s stylish and cool Cooper Collection, Tamrac’s awesome Anvil Backpack for nature and outdoor photographers, the portable and plush Znzi Travel Stuff Pillow, and the tech savvy and hip Wraps headphones!

GEAR UP FOR AN ADVENTURE PACKED PHOTO EXPEDITION Whether it’s a day hike in Yosemite Valley or a backpacking adventure into Kings Canyon’s spectacular wilderness region, having the right pack to fit all your necessary gear as well as some travel essentials, is a must. Comfort and gear protection are key factors – you need a pack that’s not too heavy on the shoulders, and can keep your camera gear clean and dry.

Weather can change at any moment when you’re out in the wilderness. I appreciate that I can also fit a jacket and some munchies in the pack, and that it comes with a rain cover. Pricing for the Tamrac® Anvil Backpack series starts at $189.95. Visit and get your photo safari started!

The Tamrac® Anvil Backpack series is tough in protection but light on the shoulders, and has compartments that you can move around to fit most camera types including pro-sized DSLRs, flashes, lenses and accessories. I love my Anvil 23. It’s comfortable to carry, the center interior compartments are customizable so I can fit my camera, video and audio recording gear. Aside from all the protective and padded interior and exterior pockets, it has a padded compartment to carry my laptop and tablet, as well my notebook. It carries a tripod with convenient quick release straps, and has an airflow harness system with a removable belt, making it comfortable to carry – light on the shoulders and back, and providing better balance for hiking through steep or rocky areas. PAGE 80

Carry Your Camera Gear With Style Whether you are out filming a wedding or a concert, on a photo assignment at a high class fundraiser gala or a tropical travel destination, your gear needs to be protected yet accessible, and should be carried in a bag that matches your professional work style.

And as with all Tenba Camera Bags, it grades 100% in quality, beauty and durability. Pricing starts at $169.95. Visit and get your camera protected and carried in style!

The new shoulder carrying Cooper Collection by Tenba Camera Bags is luxurious and sophisticated in style, functional in design, and protective against all elements, whilst providing easy access to your gear. Available in four sizes, these messenger style bags are crafted with soft quality water-repellent canvas and full grain leather trim. From a large DSLR or camcorder with all the accessories, a tablet or laptop, it’s incredible how much gear you can comfortably pack. I have what I call the ‘Soft & Sturdy Cooper 15’ in which I am able to fit my camcorder, 2 extra cameras, lenses, chargers, audio recorder, laptop, tablet and notebook, wallet, keys and even personal care products. On top of the many exterior pockets that fit lenses or a water bottle, the interior compartments are adjustable and removable, and the top zips open for easy access. I especially like that the carry straps don’t slide when you have to be in fast movement, and that the Velcro closures are quiet – especially when you’re filming nature or a performance. Did I mention that it’s weather resistant, and comes with a rain / weather wrap? It does. PAGE 81


Listen to Peter Waisnor, VP of Tenba, on Big Blend Radio!

Click to Watch Video!

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Snooze In C

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Whether you’re on one of those endless international flights, a long road trip across the country, or waiting forever at the bus or train depot, little snooze sessions are a travel necessity. But as all of us travelers know, sleeping on-the-go is a comfort conundrum. I can’t count how many times I’ve had to use my sweater as a cushion (which does not work) or watched other travel pals just fall asleep with their neck slouched over and head hanging down.

Not a typical neck pillow, the Znzi Travel Stuff Pillow is also great for camping, lounging around or even windowsill reading. And for your carrying convenience, the pillow has its own travel bag that can easily slip over your luggage handles or clip onto a purse or backpack. The Znzi Travel Stuff Pillow is available in four colors: plum, navy, burgundy and charcoal. Pricing starts at $45.99. Visit and get your travel snooze on!

With 6 magnets and 2 suction cups, the super soft and luxurious Znzi Travel Stuff Pillow can be shaped in a variety of positions which makes it easy to get some pillow comfort no matter where you are or what you are traveling in be it an airplane, car, RV, boat, bus or train.


Click to Watch Video!

p a It & L r W i s ten !

Whether you are a touring musician or a music lover, headphones are one of the key ingredients to listening to music on-the-go. I travel with headphones not only listen to my favorite music (especially in hotel rooms), but I use them when recording radio interviews and filming video features. Regardless how or where I pack them, they always get tangled up and ruined, and that’s a time and money waster. Wraps by British Audio are the perfect solution – and a stylish one! Solving the storage and tangle problem, Wraps headphones can be wrapped around your wrist when you’re not listening to music. They have a unique slider system with a jack plug that pulls the wires together and keeps it all connected – whether you’re wearing them in your ears or on your wrist. Bass enhanced with precision 10mm dynamic speakers, the sound quality is perfect. Wraps are available in multiple styles and colors, from black leather to natural wood beads, and a variety of brightly colored braided textile cable options. Wraps also come in eco-friendly packaging, with 3 extra and different sized ear buds. Pricing starts at $19.99. Visit and wear your sound!



Listen to the Big Blend Radio interview with Janna Graber, editor of ‘A Pink Suitcase’. Still others find healing in travel, a soothing balm when nothing else seems to help. They travel as mothers, sisters, wives, daughters, friends and lovers. Sometimes they travel alone, whether by choice or circumstance, forming deep connections with those who cross their paths. They find that curiosity, courage and sometimes even a sense of humor can create an experience that is not only unforgettable, but transforming. A Pink Suitcase was edited by award-winning journalist Janna Graber, and published by

A PINK SUITCASE 22 Tales of Women’s Travel The recipe is simple — take 22 adventurous women, drop them into fascinating destinations around the globe and add exceptional storytelling. The result is a compelling new women’s travel anthology called A Pink Suitcase: 22 Tales of Women’s Travel. A Pink Suitcase brings together a talented group of daring women as they journey on adventures as unforgettable as they are moving. These intrepid explorers take on the world with wide eyes, an open heart and a woman’s point of view. Their stories are as diverse as the destinations they visit, from sailing the South Pacific to hiking the Appalachian Trail and searching for roots in rural China. Along the way, many uncover their own hidden strength when confronting difficulty and danger. Several take up the challenge of trying something new because they can – and do – reveling in the joy of accomplishment and fresh discoveries. PAGE 84

A travel writer, a beauty expert and a winemaker walked into a bar. They sat down, ordered a drink and started chatting with each other about life, business and success. Wonder what they had to say? Wonder what their similarities are and what challenges they face in their careers?


Listen to our special Ladies Happy Hour conversation on Big Blend Radio! Meet The Ladies:

Linda Kissam ‘Food, Wine & Shopping Diva’ is a professional travel, food, and wine writer based out of Southern California, and is also the President of the International Food, Wine and Travel Writers Association. Follow her food, wine and travel adventures on and read her stories and listen to her Big Blend Radio interviews in Big Blend Radio & TV Magazine.

Paige Padgett is a leading authority on green beauty and a celebrity makeup artist. Her informative book ‘The Green Beauty Rules: The Essential Guide to Toxic-Free, Green Glamour, and Glowing Skin.’ helps women seamlessly 'green' their beauty routines with a step-by-step guide and a sample clean beauty routine that lists approximately 200 chemicallysafe beauty products. Visit her website

Merrill Bonarrigo is the co-founder of the internationally and nationally awardwinning Messina Hof Winery & Resort, one of the first wineries in Texas. Merrill has written a number of cookbooks, and along with her husband Paul, coauthored the cookbook ‘Vineyard Cuisine’. Other Messina Hof properties include the Messina Hof Hill Country Winery and Manor Haüs in Fredericksburg and Messina Hof Grapevine Winery. Learn more at


Employers love independent contractors. They are not employees, so employers do not need to withhold taxes, pay insurance premiums, give them vacation time, etc. They require less paper work and usually cost less than employees. Perfect, right? Not so fast. Independent contractors can carry hidden costs if they were misclassified. Further, properly classified independent contractors can still create liability for a business. As I stated in earlier articles, many government agencies are seriously scrutinizing whether independent contractors are actually employees. The IRS estimated that millions of U.S. workers were misclassified as independent contractors. (Report of Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (June 14, 2013) Reference Number: 2013-30-058: “Employers Do Not Always Follow Internal Revenue Service Worker Determination Rulings”. If a government agency investigates and determines that workers were misclassified as independent contractors, it stands to collect much more tax money and have more people covered under Workers’ Compensation insurance.


Listen to Ward Heinrichs on Big Blend Radio! Further, if employees are misclassified as independent contractors, very often the worker is owed overtime, minimum wage, meal and rest period penalties, and other potential money for the misclassification. Businesses need to carefully word the language they use in agreements with independent contractors. For instance, they should not say that independent contractors are “at-will”. Only employees are “at-will”. Rather, describe the parameters of the tasks you need them to perform, without any time limits or “at-will” language. Similarly, avoid non-compete clauses.


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Independent Contractors Continued‌

Employees can create paperwork headaches and cost a business more in taxes and benefits than an If an independent contractor agreement has a non- independent contractor, but misclassifying an compete clause, that clause may help the employee as an independent contractor can cost independent contractor prove they were actually an the business much more in penalties, owed taxes, employee. Normally independent contractors have and unpaid wages. Remember, government independent businesses, and they are retained to agencies at both the state and federal level are provide a specific service that is not related to the much more closely scrutinizing independent core business of the company. Think of lawyers, contractor relationships. accountants, consultants, and other types of professionals. They should not be competing with Even when independent contractors are properly the company. If they potentially will compete after classified, they can still create potential liability for a leaving the company, they were probably business. The best thing for a business to do is employees. Plus, non-compete clauses smack of make sure that it properly classifies its workers and the type of control that an employer exerts over an then implements good business policies that shield employee, not an independent contractor. it from liability under all circumstances. So, how do you determine whether a worker is an independent contractor or employee? Usually, each government agency and each state has its own variation of a list of factors it uses to determine which workers are independent contractors. I need to refer you to a past article for some more details: Independent Contractor: Stepped Up Enforcement (May 2015).

Ward Heinrichs is a shareholder and named partner of the San Diego based employment law firm, Backstrom & Heinrichs, Attorneys at Law, APC. The firm represents both employers and employees in almost all areas of labor law. He and his firm litigate cases that have been filed in many different parts of California. Visit

What if the worker is properly classified as an independent contractor? Liability problems dissolve, right? Wrong! If an independent contractor sexually harasses or illegally discriminates against an employee of the business, under the wrong circumstances, those acts can open up the company to liability. If a professional independent contractor renders a faulty opinion that a business relies on, that can create liability. If an independent contractor slips and falls on the business premises of a client, the independent contractor is not covered by Workers’ Compensation insurance and, instead, can sue for damages in court.


COMMUNITY ALLIANCE FOR YOUTH SUCCESS What Happens When a Community Comes Together to Support Youth Success!

It sparked something in Oceanside CA, where leaders came together with a force of energy and talent to send a message that we care—we care about our youth, we care about education, we care about our community. It started 4 years ago when Stedman Graham, speaker and author of Identity, and Bobbi DePorter, president of Quantum Learning Network, called a meeting and nearly 100 community leaders showed up. Inspired by the mission, this collaborative group of highly successful business owners, authors, experts in the field of human potential, educators, city officials and community agencies has met regularly ever since as the Community Alliance for Youth Success (CAYS). CAYS: Advocate – Educate – Graduate. CAYS works to keep kids in school by making education relevant by organizing and mobilizing community leaders and organizations to interact, provide programs and volunteer to transmit meaningful information to kids. Over the last year, CAYS focused on producing a citywide event, Youth Success Week. CAYS and Youth Success Week are models that can be replicated in other communities—a national model that gives youth a voice for change.

Youth Success Week (YSW) involves the entire community. The event extends over eight days (Sunday to Sunday) with each day’s focus on one of the highly-acclaimed 8 Keys of Excellence (see as outlined in the book 8 Keys of Excellence by Bobbi DePorter, and as being taught in Oceanside schools and around the world. Programs and activities held during the week focused on important topics that promote youth success and provide critical skills, resources, and experiences. This wide variety of programs and presentations were all donated by some of the nation’s top speakers, educators, entertainers, and community and business leaders. For the January 2016 inaugural YSW, CAYS developed a partnership with the Oceanside Unified School District (OUSD) and the Oceanside Promise Foundation, an organization committed to successfully graduating every student from high school as prepared to enter college and careers. Instrumental to the success of YSW was having the full support of OUSD Superintendent, Dr. Duane Coleman, and the OUSD Board of Education.


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From left: Ken Druck, Steve Farber, Dr. Duane Coleman, Bobbi DePorter, Stedman Graham


Listen to the Big Blend Radio Panel Discussion focusing on the Community Alliance for Youth Success and Oceanside’s Youth Success Week. Featured Guests include: - Bobbi DePorter - Co-founder of Community Alliance for Youth; co-founder of SuperCamp, President of Quantum Learning Network, and the creator of the 8 Keys of Excellence character education program, and co-author of ‘Excellence in Teaching & Learning: The Quantum Learning System’ - Stedman Graham: CEO of Stedman and Associates, co-founder of Community Alliance for Youth, speaker, and author of eleven books including two New York Times bestsellers. His most recent book, “Identity: Your Passport to Success” is a Wall Street Journal bestseller. - Dr. Duane Coleman: Superintendent of Oceanside Unified School District. - Margaret Malek: Project Specialist for Oceanside Unified School District, coordinator of Youth Success Week - Helice Bridges: Founder of ‘Who I Am Makes a Difference’ - Mark Reardon: Former teacher, author and Chief Learning Officer at Quantum Learning Network.

Community Alliance Continued… CAYS Organizing Committee members, worked along with the District to produce an amazing event. The Opening event showcased several members including Steve Farber, author Extreme Leadership; Dr. Ken Druck, author The Real Rules of Life and known as the nation’s grief counselor; Helice Bridges, creator of the Blue Ribbon Ceremony, Who I Am Make a Difference; and Tia Ross, CEO Motivating the Teen Spirit, as well as a student rap performance of the 8 Keys of Excellence, and Youth Success Week Student Ambassadors who spent four months interviewing other students about What does Success mean to you? Answers were heartfelt including: making your dreams come true, finishing something you start, reaching your goals, perseverance, and commitment. (Certainly beyond the narrow straight A only definition.) More than 100 assemblies took place during the week in Oceanside’s twenty-three schools, led by top presenters. In addition, two Leadership Success Days were facilitated by Stedman Graham, Steve Farber and Tia Ross which included business people interacting with high school students in small groups.

Saturday was a Parent Palooza with presentations by Marlaine Cover, president The Global Presence; Starla Levis, CEO C.E.L.L.; and Dr. Shimi Kang, author The Dolphin Parent, along with Dr. Ken Druck and Helice Bridges.


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Community Alliance Continued… The Closing Finale was held at Oceanside’s beautiful Amphitheater near the ocean, with performances by many talented student groups that included dances, songs and violins. It was a true celebration of a community coming together in support of Youth Success. Results and Impact Youth Success Week exemplified that character matters as much or more than competency. Through morning announcements by the superintendent and presentations throughout the day, students were inspired to embrace the 8 Keys of Excellence, principles to live by. The Saturday before YSW, over 700 students were trained by Helice Bridges in how to deliver the Blue Ribbon Ceremony of acknowledgment. During the week these students delivered the Ceremony to all of Oceanside’s twenty thousand students who were honored with a ribbon. The students then honored two other people in the community, potentially acknowledging over sixty thousand people. As one supporter said, “I am an instructor and you had me in tears. Thank you so much for your great positive thoughts.” New ideas, thoughts and learnings for students and community members abounded. Currently surveys are being collected from principals, teachers, students and parents about the value of Youth Success Week including positive changes in student behavior, a sense of safety and support, and reduction in bullying. School statistics will be followed including attendance and absenteeism, improved academic performance and focus in class, reduced office referrals, reduced suspensions and expulsions, and reduced dropouts—aligning with YSW’s goal to inspire students to stay in school. Youth Success Week rallied community members to come together and sent a sent a strong and clear message to youth – you are important! Learn more at Watch Youth Success Week in Oceanside videos and footage from Reggie Hailey and Eric Mowrey, New Image Unlimited, at


The 8 Keys of Excellence Are: 1. Live in INTEGRITY. 2. Acknowledge FAILURE LEADS TO SUCCESS. 3. SPEAK WITH GOOD PURPOSE. 4. Live in the now. THIS IS IT! 5. Affirm your COMMITMENT. 6. Take OWNERSHIP. 7. Stay FLEXIBLE. 8. Keep your BALANCE.

As ambassadors for Quantum Learning Network's “8 Keys of Excellence Character Education Program”, the Big Blend Spirit of America Tour embraces the challenge of bringing excellence to 50 million children and young adults. This free program guides young people and families, toward a positive future full of confidence, motivation, creativity, team work, leadership and valuable life principles. See

Click to Watch Video!

Click to Watch Video!


The Great Run and The Big Walk Listen!

Listen to the Big Blend Radio interview with Dennis Yang and Jim ‘Palomino’ Ostdick.

Jim “Palomino” Ostdick, a retired teacher and author of ‘Palomino and the Dream Machine,’ talks Dennis Yang, an endurance athlete, author and about his upcoming hiking journey of over 4000 founder of Papa Didos Foundation, discusses the miles on the American Discovery Trail, an effort to completion of his Great Reading Run around the raise awareness and funds for the trail systems in perimeter of the US for children’s health and San Benito County, California. His trek started on literacy. This is the second run Dennis has Feb. 21, 2016 at Cape Henlopen State Park near completed, and he is already planning the third run! Lewes, Delaware, and will end some eight months See later at Point Reyes National Seashore. See

Two Men On a Mission

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Generation X Group is a 501c3 non-profit youth organization that works with disadvantaged youth in the Los Angeles, Inglewood, and South Bay From the Hood to the Woods Area. In operation for over 20 years, the Youth Excursion organization provides individualized community and home based services and programs such as Listen to the Big Blend Radio interview with conflict resolution, guidance mentoring, anger founder/executive director Phill Morris and Roy management, and behavioral counseling. Learn Beasley about Generation X Group’s 1st Annual more at ‘From the Hood to The Woods’ Youth Excursion to Yosemite in summer 2016.


Listen! Click to Watch Video!


Listen to Dr. Neustatter on Big Blend Radio!

Managing Your Doctor The Smart Patient’s Guide to Getting Effective Affordable Healthcare After more than 40 years in the arena of primary care, Dr. Patrick Neustatter has developed an interest in coaching patients to help themselves and throw off the ingrained notion that their “doctor knows best.” Having spent years observing the imperfections of the medical establishment and listening to hopeless, expensive, and frightening stories of his patients’ and friends’ care, Dr. Neustatter offers the wherewithal for American patients to help themselves in his new book, “Managing Your Doctor: The Smart Patient’s Guide to Getting Effective, Affordable Healthcare.” “There are numerous statistics about the shortcomings of the U.S. healthcare system,” Dr. Neustatter says. “The cost per capita is twice that of equivalent industrialized countries, but it’s ranked almost last in quality. Medicines cost nearly double in the U.S and the injury and death rate from medical errors is at epidemic proportions.


“Managing Your Doctor” is intended to convey the information needed to help you and your doctor get you the highest quality, safest, and best value healthcare possible.” A fifth generation physician, Dr. Patrick Neustatter was born in England and educated at prestigious Guy’s Hospital in London. He worked on four continents before moving to the U.S. in 1982, completing residency in family practice at SUNY at Stony Brook. He has spent the vast majority of his 45 years of practice “in the trenches” of primary care. Since retiring from full time practice in Stafford, Virginia, he has become the volunteer medical director of the Lloyd Moss Free Clinic, writes regular medical columns for two local newspapers, and has worked on the concept of what he calls ‘medical emancipation’ to help patients get effective, affordable healthcare. Dr. Neustatter and his family live outside of Fredericksburg, Virginia. “Managing Your Doctor” is available at Amazon. Learn more about Dr. Neustatter at



Listen to Marilee Strech on Big Blend Radio.

Today copper is known to be a key element in wound healing, possibly due to its super conductance of electricity facilitating the transfer of energies. Worn as a bracelet or ring to heal arthritis, it is believed to positively influence blood circulation by having a balancing effect on whatever body part it touches, increasing energy, releasing blockages, and stabilizing metabolism.

Copper attracts money and good luck to both home and business, creating a steady increase in your life’s needs, whether it be love, money, health, One of the seven known metals in ancient fertility, or happiness. It can relieve carsickness or times, copper was prized for its magical properties as an all purpose healer. Linked with help a pet settle into a new home. It also increases Venus, both the planet and the goddess of love, tact and balances extremes in emotions or points of view. represented by the ankh in hieroglyphics (symbol of eternal life), it was named after the Symbolically, copper is associated with the Zodiac island of Cyprus---a source of the metal in the sign Taurus, the crown/heart chakra, and the planet early times. Venus. Amplifying the energy of other crystals, it works well with malachite, emerald and zinc. Today copper is mined all over the world, with the state of Michigan having one of the largest deposits of massive copper known. Copper combines easily with other metals and minerals producing those beautiful blues and greens of turquoise and An avid rock hound, Marilee Strech owns chrysocolla which are popular gemstones used in Crossroads Treasures, a gift shop that Native American jewelry. features a variety of rocks and gems, beads and jewelry, plants and books, and is just In ancient times, copper was used for sterilizing down the hill from Julian, a popular mountain wounds and drinking water. Hippocrates used it to destination Southern California. Visit treat leg ulcers. PAGE 95

By Glynn Burrows, Norfolk Tours

East Anglia is very close to Europe and there is nothing but sea between our eastern counties and Holland. A lot of this part of England is relatively flat and much of the area is open countryside. It was the perfect place to launch from when attacking by air. Even as early as the first world war, airfields started to spring up all over East Anglia.


Listen to Glynn Burrows on Big Blend Radio!

By 1939, when the second World War started, previous knowledge meant that, when airfields were being planned, the obvious places to put them were on the East Coast, and Norfolk and Suffolk were the prime sites. If you have a family member who served in East Anglia during WWII, it is more than likely that they were stationed in East Anglia and although this list is not exhaustive by any means it includes some airfields used by the American Airforce during World War II: Alconbury, Atcham, Attlebridge, Bassingbourn, Bedford, Bodney, Bottisham, Bovingdon, Boxted, Bungay, Chelveston, Willingale, Debach, Debden, Deenethorpe, Deopham Green, Duxford, Earls Colne, East Wretham, Eye, Fowlmere, Parham, Conington, Goxhill, Grafton Underwood, Great Ashfield, Great Dunmow, Great Saling, Halesworth, Hardwick, Harrington, Hethel, Honington, Horham, Horsham St Faith, Kimbolton, Kingscliffe, Knettishall, Lavenham, Theberton or Saxmundham, Little Walden, Marsworth, Martlesham Heath, Mendlesham, Metfield, Molesworth, Mount Farm, North Pickenham, Nuthampstead, Old Buckenham, Podington, Polebrook, Rackheath, Rattlesden, Raydon, Ridgewell, Rougham, Seething, Shipdham, Snetterton Heath, Steeple Morden, Sudbury, Thorpe Abbotts, Tibenham, Wattisham, Watton, Wendling and Wormingford.


Why not take a trip to see where your relative spent his or her time. (Yes, there were American women who served over here too!) The airfields are often now open farm-land, some are totally lost and some have just a few buildings or parts of the runways still in tact but those thousands of service men and women deserve our gratitude and we can honour their memories at the places they knew so well. Some of these airfields have great claims to fame, Swanton Morley saw the first bombing raid of US aircraft from England and was seen off and welcomed back by the President of the USA and the Prime Minister of Great Britain. Jimmy Stewart served in Norfolk and I have been told that the great Glen Miller played his last concert in the County.

Some of these airfields are still recognisable from the ground but many have reverted back to what they were before the War and now grow crops again. Some are now At the moment, the Swan Inn at Lavenham is built upon and some others have been adapted for other helping with a project to find out as much as uses. Farmers find the old runways and perimeter tracks possible about the airmen from the 487th very useful to build farm buildings on and many of the old Bomb-group of the 8th Airforce who hangars and sheds are still in use for storage. Looking at scribbled their names on the wall of the bar the area from above, it is often still very easy to spot the while they were there. The project is ongoing old airfields as they left a major scar on the field systems and, if you have any information, or would of old England and the layout of most airfields was like to know more, please contact me. exactly the same, so the three runways set out in a rough “A” shape can be seen on the modern websites showing the Earth from above. So, can you get to visit many of these old airfields? Surprisingly, yes! Even the ones in private ownership are often accessible by appointment and it is, at times, also possible to go into some of the buildings if they are safe. A couple of years ago, I had the honour to visit an airfield with a Veteran Liberator Pilot. That was something, I can tell you. Continued on Next Page….


What else? Well, there is the fantastic museum at Duxford. It has a massive collection of aircraft and many are still airworthy. When I visit, I often see Spitfires flying and the last two times I have been there to see the plane used in the film “Memphis Belle� take off. If you have connections to any of the airfields mentioned above or would like further information, please get in touch. Glynn Burrows is the owner of Norfolk Tours in England. For help or advice about tracing your family history, or if you are thinking about taking a vacation to England visit


Freedom Fighters of Exeter, California


Listen to the Big Blend Radio interview with Mickey Hirni about the men who served in WWII and are portrayed in the Freedom Fighters Mural in Exeter, CA. Exeter is a charming agricultural town and gateway community to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks in central California. The historic downtown district is vibrant with a series of over 30 professionally painted murals that depict the town and area’s history and spectacular natural beauty. The Freedom Fighters mural was painted by Colleen Mitchell-Veyna, and is dedicated to all Veterans in all branches of service: Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines and Navy. Look closely and you may see “Star Trek” highlights like the space-ship Enterprise, lizard man and a walkie talkie. Learn more at PAGE 99

The Tuskegee Airmen

Photo Above: Major James A. Ellison returns the salute of Mac Ross, as he reviews the first class of Tuskegee cadets; flight line at U.S. Army Air Corps basic and advanced flying school, with Vultee BT-13 trainers in the background, Tuskegee, Alabama, 1941


Listen to Alan Spears, Director of Cultural Resources for the National Parks Conservation Association, talk with Big Blend Radio about the history of the Tuskegee Airmen and the Tuskegee National Historic Site at Moton Field in Alabama. The Tuskegee Airmen’s flying adventure started at Moton Field, in Tuskegee, Alabama, where the Army Air Corps began a military "experiment" during WWII to see if African Americans could be trained to fly combat aircraft. Moton Field was the site of primary flight training for these pioneering pilots, and is part of the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site – see

"Keep us flying. Buy War Bonds." Color poster of a Tuskegee Airman, 1943. PAGE 100

Top Photo: Men of the 332nd Fighter Group attend a briefing in Italy in 1945

Bottom Photo: Office of War Information poster, Artist Charles Henry Alston, 1907-1977

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COLONEL CHARLES YOUNG First African American Superintendent of a National Park Listen to the Big Blend Radio interview with Dana Dierkes, Public Affairs Specialist for Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks, who talks about Col. Charles Young, who was appointed acting superintendent of Sequoia and General Grant National Parks in 1903, becoming the first black superintendent of a national park.


Before 1916, a company of mounted cavalry troops was dispatched each summer from San Francisco's Presidio to patrol what is now Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. In those early years, the summer of 1903 stands out as a monument to energy and commitment. This was the year that Captain (later Colonel) Charles Young and soldiers of the all-black troops I and M of the 9th Cavalry came to the Sierra. Young and his troopers completed the first road to the Giant Forest, making the grove easily accessible for the first time. On the day the road opened, modern tourism began in Sequoia National Park. Young and his troopers arrived in Sequoia after a 16-day ride to find that their major assignment would be the extension of the wagon road. Hoping to break the sluggish pattern of previous military administrations, Young poured his considerable energies into the project, and dirt and rock began to fly. By mid-August wagons were entering the mountain-top forest for the first time. Still not content, Young kept his crews working and soon extended the road to the base of the famous Moro Rock. During the summer of 1903, Young and his troops built as much road as the combined results of the three previous summers.

Photo: Col. Charles Young, Library of Congress

Although Colonel Charles Young only served one season as Acting Superintendent of Sequoia National Park, he has not been forgotten. The energy and dignity he brought to his national park assignment left a strong imprint. His roads, much improved in later times, are still in use today, having served millions of park visitors for more than eighty years. And the example he set - a determined black man overcoming the prejudices of society - remains an inspiration to anyone who faces life's challenges head-on.

Learn more about Col. Charles Young’s work in Sequoia National Park at ung.htm For more information about California’s Sequoia region, visit

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Campaign for a New National Monument Dedicated to LGBT History Listen to the Big Blend Radio interview with Chad Lord, Senior Director of the Waters Program & Government Affairs for the National Parks Conservation Association, about the campaign to preserve the area around Stonewall Inn in New York City, the birthplace of the modern LGBT movement, as the first LGBT-themed national park site.


Two-thirds of America’s more than 400 national park sites are dedicated to cultural and historic significance. Women’s Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls, New York tells the story of the first Women’s Rights Convention held there in July 1848, and the struggle for equality and civil rights. Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail in Alabama, a national park site, traces the march led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the struggle for equal voting rights for African Americans.

While the series of events between June 28 and July 3, 1969, were not the beginning of the LGBT civil rights struggle, they marked a major change, as LGBT people began to demand their rights vocally and assertively. The events have had a demonstrable effect on the lives of millions of Americans, and American society in general. A national park at Stonewall would tell the story of the LGBT community’s fight for equal rights in America, and is integral to fully incorporating the diverse range of LGBT experiences into our nation’s history. The events that happened around Stonewall honor unique stories of American history and its legacy is a part of the push for human rights and civil rights in the United States. Learn more about the push to create a national park for Stonewall and add your support by signing the petition at:

The events around Stonewall in 1969 are considered an emblematic event in the modern lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights movement. They have come to symbolize the birthplace of the modern gay rights movement. Photos courtesy NPCA PAGE 103

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