By Maureen Robertson
THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE STUPID
—The blackout last Thursday was an eye-opener for many. Either they were prepared or they weren’t. Either they reacted well or they didn’t. A drive through town showed that most Ramonans were unruffled. Fans sat in the stands at Bulldog Stadium as the Ramona High freshman football team played Morse. “In football you don’t need anything but a stopwatch,” said longtime Bulldog Booster Joan Snelling. Ramona Woman’s Club, celebrating the start of its 100th year, had a wine tasting get-together scheduled. With
a generator and portable lights supplied by Mike Celaya, all went well Thursday evening. The attendance wasn’t what it might have been without the power outage, but the 23 attending enjoyed plenty of refreshments and shared upbeat spirits. “We have flashlights, lanterns and candles,” said Barbara Worden, who attended with her mother, Reta Green. “It’s an adventure.” It was the mother/daughter team’s lucky night. Barbara won the Pamo Valley Winery basket in the opportunity drawing and Reta won the Ramona Beauty Supply and Salon basket. For the most part, drivers treated intersections with non-functioning traffic signals as four-way stops, each taking turns proceeding. At busier intersections, sheriff’s deputies, highway patrol officers or senior patrol volunteers directed traffic. Now for the bad...Some opportunists apparently milled along Main Street seeing what they could loot. Sheriff’s deputies patrolled the commercial area as a deterrent and, with one reported exception, it worked. An amateur ham radio operator turned his radio on so he could listen to it while he bagged ice in the back of one of the stores. After awhile, he noticed he
didn’t hear the radio anymore. Someone had taken it. “I was helping people who needed ice in an emergency, and an opportunistic scum took advantage of the situation,” he said in an e-mail to the Ramona Outback Amateur Radio Society. He’s reported the theft to the sheriff’s department. It’s a Kenwood TH-F6A tri-bander. Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff’s department, 760-789-9157. And the stupid...Before anyone knew how long it would be before power would be restored, the water district alerted Ramonans to the need to conserve water until SDG&E got a backup generator to the district’s pump station in Poway. There was water in the storage tanks in Ramona, but who knew when the power would switch on and start pumping water up the hill into Ramona? In Ramona’s dry climate in a month considered the start of peak fire season, who would light fire crackers or fireworks? “You could stand outside and hear them,” said sheriff’s Lt. Julie Sutton at the Ramona substation. “I stood outside and heard them....That’s the part that bothers me. These people have been through how many fires? It’s already announced about the water situation and you’re going to light off firecrackers and fireworks with no water? Where is your intelligence? God gave you some brain cells. Where are they?” Well said, lieutenant. FRIENDS IN ROTARY—A bout with diabetes meant longtime Ramona resident and Rotarian Don Owen was unable to attend the Sept. 6 Rotary meeting. Knowing Don has about 58 years of perfect attendance at weekly Rotary meetings, his friend Ellie Whitcomb went into action. She contacted Ken Dower, a past president of Ramona Rotary. He and Floyd Fiduk, another past president, talked and the meeting went to Don’s house. Approximately 15 Rotarians, Ellie and a few other friends filled Don’s living room and part of his dining room for the 11:30 a.m. mini-meeting. After Rotarians assembled, Ken called the meeting to order, Rotarian Chuck LeMenager propped the U.S flag he had brought in the living room and everyone saluted the flag, and the meeting began. Rotarians at the meeting may not have realized they were in one of the oldest homes in Ramona. It was built in 1910. Don’s parents bought it and the 20 acres surrounding it from John “Prof” Wilson, Ramona’s legendary administrator, teacher and athletic director. It’s the home Don was raised in, and it’s where he and his late wife raised their children, retired Ramona teacher Dolores Cuizak and businessman Bill Owen. While dogs generally aren’t part of Rotary meetings, Don’s Jack Russell, Charlie, stayed for the get-together. Don and Charley found each other at the humane society, said Ellie, adding, “they’re just made for each other. They’re two bachelors in the pad.” At age 91, Don doesn’t let age get in the way of community service. For the past two years, when Rotary held monthly cleanups at the community park on Montecito Road, no matter how early others arrived, Don was there first, weed whacking away. A retired dairyman, he’s never broken the habit of getting up early. His barn houses Rotary inventory — everything from the U.S. flags that line Main Street on special days to Music Fest signs. Don may be using a cane, but he planned to be at the Rotary meeting this week.