Wine medals galore, but none for high speed station design

So nice to see that the High Speed Rail folks included the
Dispatch in their


for Gilroy which would make our town’s landscape into a dungeon
with mammoth cement railway flyovers all over town.
So nice to see that the High Speed Rail folks included the Dispatch in their “plan” for Gilroy which would make our town’s landscape into a dungeon with mammoth cement railway flyovers all over town. Remember the old Embarcadero freeway in San Francisco before the ’89 quake tore it down? That’s the California High Speed Rail Authority’s plan for Gilroy. As a first stab at giving us something concrete it succeeded of course. There’s more ugly cement in the plan than there is in Candlestick Park. And we here at your local newspaper were thrilled to discover that one flyover seems (the drawings are rather crude) to go directly over our building … stop the presses …

The presses ran for a long, long time to churn out the Draft Environmental Impact Report for the Santa Clara Valley Habitat Plan. It’s ready for your personal review. Comments are due by April? What, you don’t have time to read an arcane, verbose and indigestable document that’s more than 2,000 pages long (no, I’m not kidding) and cost more than a new bullet train station to produce. And this, my friends, will, of course and as advertised, streamline the development process. In a pig’s eye. It’s an abysmal abyss of overregulation with environmental regulators stumbling over each other to get in their two cents. Check it out at www.scv-habitat Hopefully it will end up in countless court battles stuck in the legal quagmire that a document devoid of any common sense should be … all this in the aftermath of the compromise over the Bay Checkerspot butterfly which led to much-needed additional freeway lanes on U.S. 101 from Morgan Hill to San Jose. What are we thinking? To top it off the City of Gilroy is an official “partner.”

Let’s go from “partners” to polenta and the 11th annual Italian Catholic Federation fiesta. Chef Mario Fiorio and crew create the feast on Saturday, Jan. 22 (available for takeout, too, if you’re hunkering down on a chilly night) from 6 to 7 p.m. at St. Mary’s Hall, 11 First St. Donation is $15 for adults, $5 child and the money goes to charity, including local scholarships to graduating high school students. Kathy Santos, 842-8547, and Diana Berry, 842-6376, have tickets.

Polenta wasn’t the ticket to a new addition to the Garlic Festival, but Sam Bozzo and Gene Sakahara have formed a highly secretive “committee” to come up with a new food star proposal for Gourmet Alley. My vote is for paella. Alan Heinzen could manufacture huge handled pans that would take two paella chefs to carry. Randy Moen could design and build giant wood stirring oars with garlic bulb shaped ends and that new Gilroy business, Silva Sausage, could provide a key ingredient and be a main sponsor. Paella, by the way, was originally cooked on open fires in Spain. An absorptive rice is the main ingredient, add stock and then it’s all creativity from peppers to chicken to tomatoes. When done right over an open flame some “socarrat” develops, a delicious crispy rice which sticks to the bottom of the pan.

Panning for garlic college scholarship gold will be the contestants in the 33rd Annual Gilroy Garlic Festival Queen Pageant. Hit for an application. Deadline Friday, Jan. 28. Pageant Saturday, March 26.

San Jose Sharks never could’ve won a beauty pageant, but now they can’t win a hockey game. Perhaps the nucleus of Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. One thing is clear, the problem wasn’t former goalie Evgeni Nabokov. The Sharks are consistently confounding. All that talent and right now they’re stinking up the ice.

A bad stink is what Gilroy gets when the weather conditions are such that the huge Z-Best composting facility on Highway 25 sends its fumes our way – then it smells like Morgan Hill on a bad mushroom day.

Good wine week, though, for South County. Our wineries captured medals aplenty in the San Francisco Chronicle’s Wine Competition. It’s the “Largest Competition of American Wines in the World” – 5,050 entries from 23 states. These won Best of Class:

– Jason-Stephens Winery Estate Select Merlot ($38). One of the prettiest vineyards on the planet astride Watsonville Road. Winners of eight SF medals.

– Castillo’s Hillside Shire Winery 2008 Cabernet Franc ($19). Winner of six medals, all estate grown grapes, beautiful grounds in the east foothills of Morgan Hill and unique Shire-like architecture.

– Solis Winery 2010 Fiano ($20). Right on Hecker Pass, unpretentious, cozy and fun. Winners of four SF medals.

Toss in Sycamore Creek, which really took a huge leap forward winning four medals and two golds, Sarah’s Vineyard (four medals), Aver Family Vineyards (three medals) and Martin Ranch’s beautiful Redwood Retreat Road Therese Vineyards (four medals) and you have a nice Sunday afternoon itinerary.

Another idea would be to head to Morgan Hill Tobacco and have Manager Jonathan Kucan pour a glass or two of local award winning wines while you enjoy a cigar and an NFL playoff game.

Two years and the 49ers will be in the playoffs as a serious opponent. New coach Jim Harbaugh will find the missing pieces. Nice job Jed York, hope is restored. The decade trifecta – World Series, Stanley Cup and Super Bowl – is a pastability.

Possible, too, to amend the Open Government Ordinance in Gilroy to appoint three volunteer members to sit on the Open Government Commission instead of three Council members. What we have now is the fox watching the hen house. Every other commission is appointed and so it should be with Open Government. If the culture at City Hall could change from the current closed bunker mentality to honest transparency Gilroy would indeed be a better place. Ah, hope springs eternal.

Reach Editor Mark Derry at [email protected]

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