Staying focused on those pockets of Gilroy sunshine

Rough week
– right in the midst of writing about Mike Gilroy’s beautiful
daughter Denise being killed in a tragic motorcycle accident, Huck
Hagenbuch’s daughter Krista called to say that her Dad, a longtime
and, in my mind, iconic columnist for The Dispatch, had passed
Rough week – right in the midst of writing about Mike Gilroy’s beautiful daughter Denise being killed in a tragic motorcycle accident, Huck Hagenbuch’s daughter Krista called to say that her Dad, a longtime and, in my mind, iconic columnist for The Dispatch, had passed away. Add in that Thursday marked the anniversary of my mother’s death and, well …

So, you look for pockets of sunshine when the clouds grow dark – the windows that God opens when He closes a door. Mike said that he and Pat had a wonderful day-long visit with their daughter and her husband Mitch, before the tragedy. He talked of Denise’s infectious smile, her work ethic in raising her twin sons as a single mother before she met Mitch and her vivaciousness which led to her natural ability to connect with people. Those qualities will live on in those she loved and mentored, but there’s no easy way to bury a child. My mother’s mom, who nearly lived to 100, bore that pain. Friendship helps. Mike and Pat Gilroy have been great friends to so many in our community. They’ve been missed greatly since they moved to Texas. I’m sure they’d appreciate a kind note: 547 Lantana Road, Spring Branch, TX 78070.

Springing to mind visually when I think of Huck Hagenbuch are the “crunchy” old fishing hat and the trademark suspenders which marked his welcomed newsroom visits and framed his column “mugshot” faithfully for so many years. Huck had his own honest style, with the pen and in life. He wanted to keep writing after his severe stroke 12 years ago. We talked about it a few times, but those last columns are being written now and someday Gilroyans who enjoyed (or shook a fist at) Huck’s columns will get a chance to read the new efforts. Would have loved to read Huck’s columns on the high speed rail proposal for Gilroy, the medical marijuana clinic that opened without a city business license and the School Board’s handling of Jack Daley’s removal as Gilroy High’s athletic director …

Swiftly hiring Julie Berggren as the new athletic director at GHS is about as smooth and smart a move that could have been made to quiet the uproar. But as Jan Alonso pointed out in her letter, it certainly leaves open questions about Jack’s dismissal and the responsibilities of the school district’s human relations department in terms of checking on backgrounds and driver’s licenses. If the School Board wants to do the right thing and retain public trust, it should publicly release a substantial version of the report it commissioned. The investigation into matters surrounding former track coach Alvin Harrison’s DUI injury accident while driving without a valid license on a school athletic field trip in a van rented by GUSD is about much more than Jack Daley’s actions. The public has a right to know about policies and procedures, violations of those and recommended actions, even if the mistakes are embarassing and might cause people to think that the actions taken by Superintendent Debbie Flores and the Board were either misguided, too timid or both. But, one still has to admire Julie’s hire – it’s a good one on many different levels.

So many levels of marijuana-related stories that utterly point out the cultural disconnect on the entire subject … it boggles the mind. “Medicinal” clinics are popping up all over, though not in Gilroy now where our esteemed City Council chose a path to fight the clinic that lined the pockets of the city’s law firm with $200,000 worth of silk. Then, just up the road in Mt. Madonna County Park, Sheriff’s deputies are being airlifted in by helicopter to eradicate $30 million worth of pot plants with the operation funded by a federal grant courtesy of the Department of Justice. Man, what a marijuana merry-go-round mess. Such a waste of money on the one hand, and for the dopey smokers such a waste of energy. Maybe the rangers at Mt. Madonna Park can breed a herd of marijuana-feasting deer that can leap plastic fencing in a single bound in the wee hours of the night.

Before the wee hours, the San Jose Giants, in partnership with the Sons of Sicily, will hold I-talian Night at the park. You know that’s going to be a fun night on Saturday at 6 p.m. Our own Battaglia Ranch Tree Farm – the place just off the freeway in San Martin where hordes go to buy Christmas trees in November – is sponsoring a giveaway: first 1,000 fans get an Italian Night Baseball Hat. Now that’s a good hat for your favorite Garlic Festival Pyro Chef. Game time against the Visalia Rawhide is 6 p.m. I-talian music and food at the park, plus a silent auction for the special Italian-themed, game worn, player jerseys. Now that’s a red, white and green jersey that takes some serious imagination …

A little imagination and there’s a promotion idea for Garlic Festival Public Relations Pro Peter Ciccarelli and the

G-Fest Board. How about a Gilroy Garlic Festival partnership night at the San Jose Giants game a few weeks before next July’s festival? Fashion a joint purchase ticket deal and give away 2,000 promo hats. Get the “Generous Garlic Don” involved, too, and pitch Christopher Ranch as a co-sponsor. Bet JoAnne Perez Robinson, local artist and two-time winner of the poster contest, could design one sharp Giants ballcap logo that incorporates a garlic bulb. Now there’s an item that would sell like, well … like Gilroy Foundation wine coolers on a hot Saturday at the fest … that’s a plug BTW, find us on the park side, east side row of booths and we’ll pour you a refreshing and generous wine cooler …

Wine coolers would be a good idea at the “One for Brian” 9-hole golf tourney we’re having on Friday, Sept. 9 at the Gilroy Golf Course. Proceeds will aid Brian, the executive director of the Garlic Festival, in his battle against carcinoid cancer. Count Chris Wheeler, Greg Edgar, Mike and Aggie Ternasky, Pastor Malcolm MacPhail and his wife Kathy and Councilman Perry Woodward and his wife Rochelle as early supporters. It’s going great and we’re hoping for a Gilroy-style sellout … please email me if you’d like a flyer. It’s $100 for the round and dinner – sponsorships available, too.

Reach Editor Mark Derry at [email protected]

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