Tom Butt
  E-Mail Forum – 2017  
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  Summer is Over
September 10, 2017

Remember when you were in high school, or even junior high, the last day of school before summer vacation? I don’t think I will ever forget that feeling of euphoria and freedom – looking forward to those long summer days, warm nights, sleeping late, swimming, playing baseball and just hanging with friends. Even when we started working summer jobs in high school, the transition from the rigorous schedule of school and all its responsibilities to a summer of relative freedom and endless possibilities is unforgettable.

Well, those days are long gone, but  that’s still kind of the way I feel when August 1 rolls around, and the Richmond City Council takes a hiatus until well after Labor Day. Most of the regional boards and commission on which I serve also take a break in August.

But no exotic trips this year. Instead, we had puppies! Our four-year old yellow Labrador, Rosie was bred with Freedom, a service dog who is now in Illinois serving a veteran with PTSD. This is the first and last litter for both of them.

The puppies started coming July 17 and kept coming – and coming – and coming – for over 24 hours until there were twelve of them, two of which were stillborn. That left ten, an exact match for Rosie’s number of nipples. The next to last one was somewhat of a miracle. Rosie dropped him outside when she was taking a break, and he rolled down the hill. Andrew found him the next day, no worse for wear but still attached to the placenta  and very hungry. It’s a wonder the raccoons didn’t take him. He was returned to the litter and will become Andrew’s dog now known as “Ozark.”

Figure 1 - Rosie's first puppy July 17
Figure 2 - Harlan and Cecilia help welcome pups into the world

Figure 3 -= Gigi and Cecilia with puppies
Figure 4 - With all the pups birthed, a tired mom takes a well-deserved nap

It’s been over 40 years since we had a dog with puppies, and we forgot that it is a full time job. So that’s pretty much what Shirley and I did on our vacation. Here they are at six weeks!

We did, however, take a week’s trip to Arkansas while a couple of college girls, daughters of friends, looked after the pups 24/7. Click here for photos by Julie and Ellie.

They are all weaned now and starting to go to their new homes.

In Fayetteville, it was the fifth Roots [music] Festival for us, 3-plus days of pretty much non-stop music. Locally-sourced food is also a big feature of the festival. Among the featured music festival groups were John Fulbright, The Stray Birds, the Brother Brothers, Dana Louise and the Glorious Birds, Iron and Wine, Nick Offerman (think Ron on Parks and Rec), Elephant Revival, Blind Boy Paxton, the Wood Brothers, John Paul White, River Whyless, Smoky and the Mirror, Joe Purdy and the Honey Dewdrops.

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Figure 5 - Fayetteville Roots Festival Poster
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Figure 6 - Dana Louise and the Glorious Birds

We stayed at our home away from home, Deepwood, which is just outside the Fayetteville city limits on Mt. Kessler.

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Figure 7 - The road less traveled to Deepwood

Figure 8 - Farmer's market on the Fayetteville Square

The last day of our trip, we headed for the iconic Buffalo National River and a short one-day float trip.

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Figure 9 - Lunch on a rock shelf at the bottom of a cliff
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Figure 10 - You can't beat a sandwich and a can of Rolling Rock
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Figure 11 - heading on down the river

For the trip to Fayetteville, I was looking for some good airplane books, since we had an 8-hour plus trip both ways, with stops in Atlanta and Minneapolis-St. Paul.  I had ordered and read the book Road Gang before attending the 20th Engineer Brigade Reunion at the end of July, and Amazon takes care of business by recommending similar books. So I ended up downloading half a dozen books of Vietnam era non-fiction on Kindle. They were all good reads, but the shared experiences made them special.

Figure 12 - Four non-fiction books about Vietnam: Long Daze at Long Binh, When I turned Nineteen, My Vietnam Year and The Cat from Hue.

When we got back to Richmond, the puppies were six weeks old, click here for video, and theoretically old enough to leave home, but we gave them another couple of weeks. Here they are at seven weeks.
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Figure 13 - Cecilia, Sara, Josephine and me with puppies

Even though the City Council has been on vacation from July 25 to September 12, my staff and I have been very busy over the past six weeks.

  • I have been, along with Congressman DeSaulnier, negotiating a potential deal with the US Postal Service that could result in keeping the Richmond Main Post Office in its current location. This will be discussed with the full City Council in closed session on September 12.








Figure 14 –Richmond Main Post Office building will be sold n=by the US Postal Service 

Figure 15 - Logo and Strapline

  • We have been working on a plan that could create a Richmond Visitor Center at the unused building at the entrance to BART that was intended to be a multi-modal transportation center.

Figure 16 - The building originally built as a transit center no longer serves that purpose. It could become the Richmond Visitor Center 

  • As chair of the Contra Costa Transportation Authority, I have been so far successfully advocating for RM3 (SB 595) funding for Richmond projects, including $75 million for congestion relief at the east end of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge