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  Home Front Festival Will Go On - Even Without National Park Service
October 5, 2013

West County Times : Richmond festival will go on even if national park is closed
RICHMOND -- The annual Home Front Festival, which is pegged around the city's Rosie the Riveter World War II/Home Front National Historical Park, will take place Oct. 12 even if the park visitors center and offices remain closed because of the federal shutdown, the Richmond Chamber of Commerce announced.
"Despite their temporary furlough, this year's Home Front Festival will still take place as scheduled," the chamber stated in an announcement, "and will offer its usual entertainment and activities. If the closure ends we have been assured the National Park Service will be there in full force.
"We at the Richmond Chamber and our sponsors would like to express our greatest appreciation for the Rosie the Riveter World War II/Home Front National Historical Park and its work to preserve our precious Richmond history."
"Kids Can Do It!" is the theme of this year's celebration from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 12 inside and outside the Craneway Pavilion, 1414 Harbour Way South.
The Richmond Museum of History will have a display of artwork created by children at the city's child care centers during the war, including some that have never been exhibited publicly.
A Kids Zone will have a video game truck, jump houses, face painting, art projects and games, as well as interactive activities for all ages.
The day starts at 9 a.m. with the popular YMCA Home Front 5K & 10K Fun Run/Walk along the scenic shoreline. Those who register at www.homefrontrun.com are eligible for giveaways of sports clothing and other prizes.
The day will feature exhibits; art and food vendors and community and business information tables; the Kiwanis Club of Richmond Classic Car Show; and free one-hour National Park Service-guided tours along the bay aboard the amphibious San Francisco Duck craft from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
One of the day's highlights is the annual reunion of Rosies and other home front workers for a photo at 1 p.m.
Celebrants can also ride 1940s buses, which will shuttle between the Craneway and the SS Red Oak Victory at the Port of Richmond.
For more details, go to www.rcoc.com.
Nation's oldest full-time park ranger furloughed
RICHMOND, Calif.—A 92-year-old Northern California woman who is the nation's oldest full-time national park ranger said Friday she's surprised that she has joined the ranks of those currently out of work due to the ongoing U.S. government shutdown.
Even after four days, Betty Reid Soskin, who works at the Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond, Calif., said she's still devastated after being furloughed earlier this week.
A sign on the door that read "Shutdown" at the visitor's center, said it all.
"At 92, I am very sensitive to the passage of time. We learned about the furlough gradually," Soskin said. "When it came at midnight (on) October 1, it seemed like a major interruption in my life because I don't have time and these young folks were wasting my time, precious time."
The shutdown began Monday at midnight after Republicans demanded the defunding of the nation's new health insurance system in exchange for providing essential federal funding. The White House and Democrats refused.
After a life in public service, Soskin became a park ranger seven years ago where she leads tours at the historical California park and museum that honors the women who worked in factories during wartime. But that all changed this week.
"It was like hitting a wall to come out from under my hat and back into civvies," Soskin said.
Now, she's idle, waiting on that call to come back to the job she says keeps her going. She said she feels uncertain when she watches the developments between lawmakers in the Nation's Capital unfold on television.
"There are times when I feel like the only grown-up in the room. It's a little disconcerting to feel like no one's in charge. That's the feeling I have when I watch the news," Soskin said. "There are not enough wiser heads in Washington to determine where we should go. That uncertainty is unnerving."
The National Park Service confirms that Soskin is the oldest full-time park ranger. At 93, Lyle Ruterbories, who works at Glacier National Park in Kintla Lake, Mont., near the U.S. and Canadian border, is the oldest seasonal ranger the park service is aware of, park service spokesman Jeff Olson said earlier this week.
Standing by a waterfront in Richmond, Calif., Soskin said Friday she hopes the furlough will end before Oct. 12th. That's when the park is set to host its annual Home Front Festival which she has been working on for months.

"I think that enough of the country has suffered from this so that there will be at least some resolution and my work can go on ... before I forget how to tie my own shoes," said Soskin, laughing.