Mill Valley Public Library A Hoot!

February 21, 2009

Moreover, Owliver does not pipe down when shushed by staff and has proven to be a somewhat messy guest by leaving droppings wherever it wants.  Because the bird has taken to snatching pencils from the children’s room, there is some concern for its safety as it apparently was trying to build a nest with them. My suspicion is that if Owliver could speak, it would ask “Please sir, can I have another.”

Bob Weir to Help Casa de Milagros

November 20, 2008

Casa de Milagros (a home for orphaned children in Peru’s Sacred Valley) will be the beneficiary of a night of musical and spoken word performances featuring Bob Weir, Ray Manzarek (from The Doors), esteemed poet Michael McClure, Rob Wasserman, Maria Muldar, and Jay Lane will be on hand.

The benefit is to take place Sunday evening, November 30th, at 7 p.m. at 142 Throckmorton.

Tickets are $50. Call 383-9600, visit the box office at 142 Throckmorton Theatre, or click on for tickets and/or additional information.

Mill Valley Embraces Green Building

November 7, 2008

On the commercial side, any project over 2,500 sq. ft. or any remodeling which exceeds $500,000 must attain a “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design” silver rating.

For residential homes, new construction under 3,500 sq. ft. must attain 50 points under the “Build It Green” rating system (verified by a GreenPoint inspector). And new homes bigger than 3,500 sq. ft. must attain 60 points. Also, remodels that increase floor area by 50% will have to meet the 50-point requirement. 

It is expected that the additional cost for new homes will be abut $1,150 to $3,000. Green building considerations include the use of sustainably harvested lumber, waste recycling, low water usage, energy-efficient building practices, and other design features intended to reduce the environmental impact of construction and housing.

Sycamore Park Restroom Approved

October 27, 2008

The Mill Valley City Council supported plans this week to build a small restroom in Sycamore Park, despite some opposition from neighbors with homes adjacent to the park. The project was unanimously approved by the Parks and Recreation Commission earlier this year at its June 11 meeting, despite objections by Park Terrace residents whose homes border the park.

But, the majority of City Council members expressed sympathy with the larger community need for a restroom. Mayor Shawn Marshall pointed out that many Mill Valley residents travel to parks throughout the city, making a restroom essential. “This is a basic human function,” Marshall said. “It’s really just that simple for me.”

The proposal recommended by the Parks and Recreation Department would install a 7-by-11-foot shed-like restroom that contains a toilet, hand sink and hand dryer. A similar restroom was installed in Tam Valley’s Eastwood Park for about $105,000.

Mill Valley Honors Tennis Legends Gilbert & Hingus

October 9, 2008


Brad Gilbert boasts a score (20, that is) of singles titles and is widely acknowledged as an all-time talent in tennis. He is retired and now lives in San Rafael.

Martina Hingis debuted on the world scent at the age of 14. She rapidly rose to the highest eschelon of women’s tennis and become the number one player on the circuit.

Both plan to make appearances at the Harbor Point Tennis Club this week for the Esurance Tennis Classic. Friday features a junior tennis clinic, Saturday features the celebrity pro-am event, and Sunday’s events include an exhibition featuring top players, as well as the Cal and Stanford women’s tennis teams.

Click HERE for more information about the event. 

Dog Day Afternoons at Mill Valley Dog Park

September 16, 2008

Rain or shine, the Mill Valley Dog Park is busy with dogs and owners conducting business. The dogs, well, they do their thing. And the owners chat, talk on the phone, fling tennis balls, and generally enjoy the outdoor time with their pets. 

The Mill Valley Dog Park is run by the City of Mill Valley Parks and Recreation Department and volunteers. It gets used every day of the year, including holidays, even when other parks are closed. From dawn to dark, being the only ones there is rare. Peak summer usage times are:7 to 9 AM, 11 AM to 1 PM  and 3:30 to 7 PM.

Lots of good stuff here:
  • There is a beach for swimming in Richardson Bay. The center 40 feet of the beach bottom is filled with small/medium rocks and is very firm, with little mud.  Keep in mind that the Bay is tidal and brackish.  
  • A wide, 1000-foot, walking track winds the dog park.  
  • Agility stations are located at the southern end of the park.
  • 2 acres of space to roam–there are water bowls near most benches and a lost and found box near the entry to the park.
Want to go visit? 

Mill Valley Film Festival 2008

September 11, 2008

For over 30 years, the Mill Valley Film Festival has brought together filmmakers and film lovers in one of California’s most stunning and beautiful settings–Marin County, which sits across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco. This is a prestigious event that showcases features, documentaries, shorts and children’s films from around the world. There are no winners or losers. Just great films.

The festival pulls no punches with its opening-night films: “Religulous” is a comic documentary with Bill Maher that casts a critical eye on organized religion, and “The Secret Life of Bees,” based on Sue Monk Kidd’s best-selling novel. “Religulous” director Larry Charles and “Bees” star Dakota Fanning will attend the screenings.


Running Oct. 2 to 12 at three main venues in Marin County, the festival offers more than 200 films from around the world – though festival programmers note that this year is particularly strong in entries from Asia, Ireland, Poland and South Africa.

Closing night also delivers two features: Tim Disney’s “American Violet,” starring Woodard and based on the Texas case of a white district attorney accused of racism in the arrest of a black woman; and Israeli director Eran Riklis’ “Lemon Tree,” a drama set on the Palestinian border.

New at Mill Valley this year is the Active Cinema program, which allows audiences to hook up with the causes espoused in many of the festival’s offerings. For example, there will be a tree-planting event, co-sponsored with Friends of the Urban Forest and Goodscapes, on Oct. 4.

The festival presents live musical performances at the 142 Throckmorton Theatre in connection with several movies, including “The Wrecking Crew,” the latter about a group of 1960s studio musicians who worked on some of the era’s biggest hits.

Other notable events: The festival’s 14th annual Children’s FilmFestruns Oct. 4 to 11; director Joe Wright (“Atonement”) will offer a master class Oct. 4; and, in a “post-festival presentation” Nov. 18 at San Francisco’s Castro Theatre, Tony Curtis gets a tribute.


Mill Valley Film Festival: Oct. 2-12 at the Sequoia Theater and 142 Throckmorton Theatre in Mill Valley and the Smith Rafael Film Center in San Rafael. Tickets $10-$12.50, on sale Sept. 19.

*much of the above information was derived from the San Francisco Chronicle.

Tam Valley Tree Removal Causes Stir

September 11, 2008

Tamalpais Valley residents have put the brakes on government efforts to rid the area of fire-prone eucalyptus trees. When word spread months ago of a plan to wipe out hundreds of the towering non-native trees – familiar to motorists traveling along a stretch of Highway 1 – some residents of the Mount Tamalpais hillside launched a campaign to halt plans by the National Park Service and Marin County Fire Department.Neighbors feared lack of funds for restoration and an Oregon logging firm’s offer to clear the area would have left them with a moonscape. The Tamalpais Valley encompasses about 2,500 households.

Twenty-two to 27 acres of federal land were targeted by fire officials in 2006 because the trees pose a high fire risk in an area adjacent to houses. An Oregon contractor had offered to clear the land for free in exchange for the wood, but that logging plans have been put on hold after the community outcry.

Eucalyptus Globulus

Eucalyptus globulus, or Tasmanian blue gum, was introduced to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1853 from Australia as an ornamental tree. The trees grow fast and tall, but the invasive species poses a severe fire hazard because of its oil content and accumulation of dead, dry leaves, and constantly shedding bark.

Plant replacement is part of agency tree removal projects for fire reasons, but budget shortfalls have put such funding in limbo. 

Actor Peter Coyote, whose Tamalpais Valley home borders the area, said he was pleased to be rid of the eucalyptus before he learned that nothing was ready to replace them.

“Anybody can say let’s cut the trees down,” said Coyote, who narrated the DVD “Marin on Fire,” a wildfire preparedness film created by FireSafe Marin. “They want to cut it down without really any provision for what will be left. If there are no options, there will be no restoration.”

Fire and park officials have stepped up efforts to combat the invasive eucalyptus. The Australian import, brought to the region in 1853, has thrived on the California coast. Oily leaves and dry ground litter have made the tree a potent fuel source for wildfires.

“Eucalyptus is one of the more volatile trees around due to its oil content and amount of debris that comes off on an annual basis,” said county Fire Chief Ken Massucco. “It is very susceptible to major conflagrations.” Massucco said his department has partnered with the National Park Service to clear agency land of the trees.

The National Park Service has targeted removal of eucalyptus trees as part of a long-term fire management plan. Rich Weideman, a spokesman for the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, said critics have complained about slow restoration programs and use of the herbicide Roundup to prevent stumps from sending up new shoots.

*This article was derived the Marin IJ.

Golden Gate Bridge Toll Increase

September 8, 2008

It was $1 when I was a kid. It was $3 when I was a young man. It’s now up to $6 (for those paying cash).

Bridge Tolls Rise Again

Bridge Tolls Rise Again

Those who use FasTrak saw their toll rise from $4 to $5. The toll increase will provide the bridge district with another $18 million a year and help erase a projected five-year, $91 million deficit.

When construction of the bridge was pitched to voters back in 1930, campaign materials promised the span would pay for itself and, by 1970, “the bridge becomes a free bridge.” In fact, tolls decreased in the first years after the span was built, and the bridge did pay for itself by 1971.

But in the meantime, the district started bus and ferry service, which has sapped toll dollars. For each toll dollar collected, almost half – 47 cents – goes toward transit. District officials say the transit service takes cars off the road.


– May 1937: 50 cents each way, with a 5-cent extra charge if more than three passengers

– July 1950: 40 cents each way

– February 1955: 30 cents each way

– October 1955: 25 cents each way

– October 1968: 50 cents southbound

– March 1974: 75 cents southbound

– November 1977: $1 southbound

– March 1981: $1.25 southbound

– December 1981: $2 southbound toll on Fridays and Saturdays, $1 on all other days

– July 1991: $3 southbound

– July 2000: FasTrak implemented

– September 2002: $5 cash toll; $4 FasTrak southbound

– September 2008: $6 cash toll; $5 FasTrak southbound

Source: Golden Gate Bridge District

*The information above was derived from the Marin IJ.