We've had a lot of people ask us what we've been up to this year, so we thought we'd share!
As you know, revitalization efforts don't happen over night, and at all times, there are many initiatives taking place. We held a couple of committee meetings to gauge community involvement while simultaneously harassing our local, regional, state, and federal politicians about the potential of a life-altering wildfire. Let's be honest, we all knew it was just a matter of time, and the team at Revitalize Auberry made sure that all political organizations were notified, and implicated. Ten days before the Creek Fire, Tami Jones sent a letter to all stakeholders warning (again) that an out of control wildfire was imminent and offered the help of our community. Sadly, it fell on deaf ears. If you'd like to read its contents, please click here.
Of course, Covid19 arrived on our doorstep in March of last year, and engaging with the community became difficult. The Creek Fire didn't help. We've all been recovering ever since. Our team held a successful Halloween event, and partnered with others for the successive Creek Fire events. Throughout it all, we were able to rely on one valued source to keep the community together and that was, and still is, our monthly Munahoo Market led by Vanessa Rakis-Garabedian. I think we can all agree that she and her teams have been a rock throughout this ordeal, so please give her a high five (or a hug) the next time you see her. She's also a trauma therapist, and very good at her job, if anyone needs a little extra help after the devastation caused by the Creek Fire. Her new office is in Rock Tree Center.
For those of you unfamiliar with revitalization efforts in rural towns, there is much peer-reviewed scientific research about the health and wellness of rural towns being directly correlated with the health and wellness of its schools. It became an immediate priority to figure out why our rural towns continued to lose schools and students, so we've spent the past year investigating the questionable systems of the California State Board of Education. We've also constructed a timeline of events that led to the dismantling of our schools and we've been evaluating the attack on rural American towns for the past two years. Visit the Freight Station for more information.
We had a successful campaign for four (and now, five) new school board members, so thank you to everyone who voted in the local school elections this year - you may have just given our towns a fighting chance. Cortney, James, Jeremiah, Ben, Laurie, Connie and Tom, we're all counting on you and as always, you have our undivided attention. Let your communities know what you need!
For future reference, everyone, when we see our rural school's close and school board members attempt to hide themselves and their decisions from the public, we're already in DEEP trouble.
Our team is in a constant attempt to partner with Supervisor Nathan Magsig's office, the Health Department, and Behavioral Health to tackle the homeless/meth/oxy epidemic our towns have experienced these past 20 or so years. It's an ongoing battle and we could use your help. Fresno County provides mental health services and rehabilitation facilities for "all" of its citizens...except, I guess, it's rural populations. We need to be vigilant with this office and we need to call or email our concerns loudly and often (I'll post contact information at the end of this post).
We've also applied for a grant from Lowe's 100 small towns nomination to acquire funding for a skate park either behind The Freight Station, or the empty lot next door. We'll find out if we qualified on June 24th. Cross your fingers everyone, and if anyone has a contact at Lowe's corporate offices, please feel free to reach out to them on our community's behalf!
Community is a good description of a gathering of people in surrounding areas that come together for fun, food, and entertainment. The California Conservation Corps (CCC) has graciously donated the use of Auberry Elementary School playground (now referred to as "Auberry Park") to continue these events. They are not responsible for the events. We are. That's the crux of this letter. We need everyone from Burrough Valley to Huntington digging in and helping to Revitalize Auberry and our surrounding foothill and mountain towns.
All business and property owners should be open to more communication and unified action! No matter who you are or what you represent, don't wait for someone else. BE that someone.
If you would like to volunteer your time, offer your ideas, or donate to the cause please visit or call Cortney Burke at The Freight Station (559-855-8222). Once enough interest is shown, we can get the ball rolling and set a date to gather as a community that is MOUNTAIN STRONG!
We currently need help in the following areas: Political Action Committee (as stewards and defenders of rural resource-rich American towns, and to hold our political representatives accountable for the devastation of the Creek Fire and to lobby for sustainable logging and the reinstatement of timber mills), Beautification Committee (signage, landscaping, building facade upgrades, lighting, and clean-up), Rural School Accountability Committee (Sierra High School is in financial trouble and high schools are the lifeblood to rural towns - there is a breadth of research on the correlation between the health and wellness of schools, and the health and wellness of rural communities - let's not lose another one), Events Committee (if events are your "thing," we need you!), and a host of others.
So, let's start there.
We all love these communities and our resolve is stronger after the tragedies we've all endured. Sometimes it feels like it's all too much, but we ARE getting through it together. Thank you to everyone who has stepped in to help and for everyone who keeps showing up.
Please stop by the Freight Station Monday-Thursday from 10 am to 4 pm to chat with us about what we're currently working on and we'll let you know how you can help!!! We also offer a free mentorship program on how to start your own business. We'll talk about the challenges and opportunities for new businesses in the area and you'll receive lots of great advice and coaching for how to start a business. Tami spent twenty years in business development, including fund raising, event management, marketing, web development and copy writing, and customer and employee experience design for Fortune 500 companies around the world. She also mentors tech startups and those interested in doing their own thing. Entrepreneurs UNITE!
As always, we're proud to be of service to these towns and continue to be amazed by the strength, grace, and resilience of the people who live here. Good job, everyone.
Supervisor District 5, Nathan Magsig's office: (559) 600-5000, email District5@fresnocountyca.gov.
Fresno County Sheriff's Office: (559) 600-3111
Fresno County Department of Behavioral Health: (559) 600-9181
Email Jim Patterson's office here.
Email Tom McKlintock's office here.
Creek Fire Resources: