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The Chemeketa Park Newsletter

Thanks to the many contributors to make this issue packed full of useful information. 

Here's a rundown of what you can find in this issue:

  • 'Lady Winter' passage - a warming view of our mountain winter
  • SPUG propane prices as of January 1st
  • Road Repair Projects Update
  • Wine Wednesday
  • Septic System Basics
  • Community Garden & Park Update
  • Close Before You Doze
  • A Bit of History - Burr, It's Cold Outside
  • Who are You Going to Call?
  • Regular Water Board Meetings
  • We are in Earthquake Country

Lady Winter

Cold and raw the North winds blow
Bleak in the morning early;
All the hills are covered with snow
And Winter's now come fairly

Although we don't have snow, (or do we?) winter can mean bleak cold days and incessant rains. Confinement to the indoors through the winter months of dormancy means finding cheerful comfort in reading by the fire, listening to music, and ... tending a soup pot. A pot of soup on active duty at the rear of your stove can bring many pleasant and wonderful surprises to your family's meals for into it can go the most unlikely ingredients. So let it rage outside, your soup can only grow thicker and better.

Winter comes with her own special dignity and provides us with a quiet and glimmering beauty. Streets shine after rains, and the wheels of cars can be heard splashing past your house. There is nothing more fragrant than the simple cleanliness and freshness of air and land after the rains. In the early morning, frost glistens on our cars and roadsides and we marvel at winters jewels; sometimes cursing her vanity when we see our delicate plants, victims of a frosty morn.

In winter, an early morning mist clings to the earth giving a mysterious sense of lore to the Redwoods and Madrones. As we retreat to the sanctuary of our homes I wonder about the Indians, for which Chemeketa Park is donated in remembrance, and of the very early Spanish Dons and American Explorers; the first railroad between Santa Cruz and Los Gatos, now not even a memory. Their winters here were much bleaker, but perhaps the frost, and rain, and the crack of a dead limb in the middle of the night held as much austerity tor them as it does for us.

An excerpt from the Chemeketa Park Cookbook. 'Lady Winter'  written by Diana Crawford
SPUG Propane Prices for January 1, 2018 (per gallon)

Amerigas $2.50   FerrellGas $2.33   Kamps $2.65
Suburban/SJ  $5.09  Suburban/SV $3.19

Become a member of the South Skyline Association to enjoy these prices. 

Road Repair Projects Update

by Dave Casper

Below are the basic details of the four roads projects.

Slide at Comanche/Nez Perce
    Original cost estimate $10,600
    Actual cost $11,100
    Completed end of May 2017

Slide at Comanche/Delaware
    Original cost estimate $36,000
    Actual cost $39,500
    Completed end of June 2017

Drainage on Walla Walla Trail
    Original cost estimate $15,000
    Actual cost will be closer to $20k with $15,000 for paving and $5,000 for culverts
    Surface paving was completed on January 10th, but still needs to be sealed and another berm
    Culverts are installed from the end of the pavement to a safe drainage area.

Grate at Comanche/Assiniboine
    Original cost estimate $10,000
    We’ve allocated $14,200 for this project, but the work hasn’t started yet.  Still trying to get a date from the contractor.


Wine Wednesday

We're on hold with these get-togethers until daylight savings begins.

Looking forward to brightening our community with more light, warmer weather, and friendly conversation with our neighbors.

Watch for announcements for the first Wine Wednesday of 2018 for Wednesday, April 4th

Septic System Basics

by Diane Schenkelberg

I do not proclaim any sort of authority on the subject of septic tanks.  But new residents might have questions, so I thought I post some answers based on websites I have researched.

How often do I need to pump?

This will greatly depend on the size of the tank, number of household members, and if you use a garbage disposal!  Typically, a 1,500-gallon tank that is used by a family of four needs to be pumped after four years. However, if the family also uses a garbage disposal the amount of solids in the waste water doubles, so the tank needs to be pumped more often.

Are there items that shouldn’t go down the drain?

Whether you flush it down the toilet, grind it in the garbage disposal, or pour it down the sink, shower, or bath, everything that goes down your drains ends up in your septic system. What goes down the drain affects how well your septic system works. Items that shouldn’t go into the system include:
  • Fats or grease
  • Motor oils or fuels
  • Disposable diapers
  • Coffee grounds, egg shells, nut shells
  • Filter tip cigarettes
  • Sanitary napkins, tampons or condoms
  • Paper towels or rags
  • Paints or chemicals
If you own a garbage disposal, limit its use.  This will significantly reduce the amount of fats, grease, and solids that enter your septic tank and ultimately clog its leach field.

What are the restrictions on what can be above the leach field?

Your leach field is the aeration system for the liquid matter coming from your septic tank (effluents).  You absolutely should not pour a concrete or asphalt pad over the leach field.  This would prevent oxygen from getting into the soil. Oxygen is needed by bacteria to break down the sewage.
It is also advised to not plant trees or gardens above it.  Nor should any run-off from your gutters and downspouts drain on it.  Excess water could overwhelm the system.  Driving and parking cars on the leach field may compact the soil, lessening the effectiveness of percolation.

What about additives?

There are many commercial additives that are supposed to help break down the sludge in the septic tanks. However, no study has been conducted to prove their efficacy.
These guidelines are a composite of those in

Community Garden & Park Update

We have a community garden. Space within the fenced (deer protection) area is limited and planting areas are assigned to individuals for their exclusive use. It is not a community harvest, so please ask the plant owner before picking.

Welcome to the new garden members. A few are growing winter crops while others are preparing for spring planting. It is amazing the range of gardening styles and crops grown each year.

As noted in the last newsletter there are a few options to build additional community garden space. It will take some work and funds, yet there are sunny spots available if you'd like to take on the project to expand the garden.

The playground and general park area is for all to enjoy. It is not OK to drag branches and debris into the park. While there have been programs in the past to collect branches for chipping, please limit piling chipping material till the short window of time prior to the chipping crew arrives.

We'll see signs for the chipping program around the park, announcements in this newsletter and via NextDoor. Please wait till then.

Close Before You Doze

recommended by Brad Hartzell
The Close Your Door safety initiative comes as the result of over 10 years of research by the UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute (FSRI). After proving that a closed door could potentially save lives in a fire, UL SFRI has committed to share this finding with the world.

Fire is Getting Faster

Because of synthetic materials, furniture and construction, fire spreads faster than ever before.

Fire's Getting Faster, But You Can Get Ahead

  1. Close Your Bedroom Door
  2. Check Your Smoke Alarms
  3. Make an Escape Plan
See more details and advice at

A Bit of History

by Ted Hernandez

Burr, It's Cold Outside

snow in the Chemeketa ParkPhoto by Julie Doyle (not sure when...maybe 12 years ago)

My wife and I moved into our house in CP near the end of Nov, 1976. I was generally unfamiliar with the area never having driven on Old Santa Cruz highway before. After being in my home only a few weeks, what a surprise it was to wake up and see about 6 inches of snow covering my property. It was an added surprise when I walked down to my lower property later that day to see the tracks of a set of skis going from my retaining wall down the hill to the corner of Blackfoot and Nez PierceTrails, a distance of about 50 yards. I never did learn who had skied down my property.

Seeing that much snow after living in CP such a short time, I expected to see snow on the ground from time-to-time, and perhaps even enjoy a white Xmas some years. However, that has never happened in the 41 years since. With one exception, the only snow I've seen fall in the park has melted away quite quickly. the year that was the exception occurred about 12 years ago when I witnessed an unusual and freakish storm that left the landscape white for a day or two. That storm produced a downpour of snow and hail, but mostly hail, leaving CP landscape white once again.

Who are You Going to Call?

Compiled by Diane Schenkelberg

For PG&E outages, call 800-743-5000. An outage map can be found at
To report water emergencies, call Miles Farmer at Cypress Water Services (831) 920-6796 (24hr)
To report country road issues, submit a request here: or download the Mobile Citizen App to your smartphone.
To report a crime, contact the County Sheriff’s non-emergency line at (408) 808-4400  For emergencies dial 911

Who are our elected officials and how do I contact them?

Mike Wasserman is our representative on the Santa Clara Co. Board of Supervisors.
Supervisor Mike Wasserman District 1
70 West Hedding Street, 10th Floor
San Jose, CA 95110
Phone: (408) 299-5010
Twitter: @Mike_Wasserman
Evan Low is our State Assemblyman.
Capitol Office:
State Assemblymember Evan Low
State Capitol
P.O. Box 942849, Room 2175
Sacramento, CA 94249-0028
Phone: (916) 319-2028
District Office:
20111 Stevens Creek Blvd
Suite 220
Cupertino, CA 95014
Tel: (408) 446-2810
Twitter: @Evan_Low
Jim Beall is our State Senator.
State Senator Jim Beall
State Capitol, Room 5066
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 651-4015
Twitter: @Jimbealljr
Our Representative in the United States House of Representatives is Anna Eshoo.
Rep. Anna G. Eshoo
241 Cannon Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-8104
Twitter: @RepAnnaEshoo
Our United States State Senators are Dianne Feinstein:
Senator Dianne Feinstein
331 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Phone: (202) 224-3841
Twitter: @SenFeinstein
and Kamala Harris:
Senator Kamala D. Harris
112 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Phone: (202)224-2200
Twitter: @KamalaHarris

Regular Water Board Meetings

You are invited to attend the meeting. Bring your ideas, suggestions, and comments. As a community, we have a lot of different projects to manage, plus a long list of park improvements. Many hands make for light work - get involved.

The next meeting is February 8th in clubhouse starting at 7:30pm.

The meetings are typically the 2nd Thursday of each month. Check the events calendar online for details.

We are in Earthquake Country

recommended by Dana Hartzell

While this image is a home in Boulder Creek, similar damage occurred here. You can take steps to reduce the chance of earthquake damage to your home.

You may have received a letter from the California Earthquake Authority inviting you to register for a drawing to receive $3,000 towards bracing and bolting a cripple wall element of your foundation (if you have such a structure).

Register between January 23 through February 23, 2018 for the drawing for the funds. Or, just engage a qualified contractor to brace and bolt your foundation.

See for details.
Let your neighbors know about the newsletter. They can sign up online on the Chemeketa Park Subscribe page.
Newsletter comments, suggestions, or contributions are always welcome. 

Let me know your thoughts and ideas for the coming issues. Contact me, Fred, at

Now with 92 subscribers.


The newsletter is for Chemeketa Park residents. It's another way we can stay in touch, share ideas, and improve life in the park.

The email list is for the quarterly newsletter plus occasional announcements for residents, owners, or renters.
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