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The Wines of Basilicata

Picture courtesy of Zenith Holidays.http://www.zenithholidays.co.uk/italy/basilicata/

Picture courtesy of Zenith Holidays. http://www.zenithholidays.co.uk/italy/basilicata/

By Judy Pinegar

Basilicata, in southern Italy, is a region whose name crops up only in wine circles. It is home to just four Denominazione di Origine Controllata  DOC’s, (certified growing areas) which collectively cover only two bottles in every hundred produced here.

Winemaking in Basilicata dates back over a thousand years. While in central and northern Italy it was the Etruscans and Romans who pioneered local winemaking, in the south this task was largely undertaken by seafaring Greeks.  Basilicata was also influenced by the Byzantines, who ruled the area during two distinct periods in both the 6th and 9th centuries and gave the region its current name. (from Greek basilikos, meaning prince and governor).

It was during the Middle Ages that Aglianico (then known as Ellenico) took its place as the leading wine grape variety – although recent theories lean towards the introduction of the grape (known as vino de llanos, or wine of the plains) under Aragonese rule in the late Middle Ages.

Compared to the rest of Italy, the total wine production in Basilicata is very small; less than 500,000 hectoliters, of which only 3% comes under the DOC designation.  The main area for viticulture lies in the heart of  the fertile Vulture Massif in the north, located around extinct volcano of Mount Vulture on volcanic soils.

Although the mountainous terrain and harsh weather makes vine-growing a challenge, this area still enjoys an abundance of sunshine throughout the growing season and cool temperatures around harvest, thanks to the mild currents from the Tyrrhenian Sea to the west.  In this hilly territory the local variety, Alianico del Vulture, reigns, producing quality wines which exhibit fine aromas and flavors.

There are some very pleasant examples of Moscato, and some superb Malivasia, the best of which come the Vulture zone and the eastern Bradano Valley.  Primitivo, Sangiove and Montepulciano also do particularly well, as does Bombino Nero.

The Aglianico del Vulture wine, but expands further afield to the plains of Materia where it is used in Vino da Tavola wines.

Judy is a retired education administrator and dietitian, now enjoying writing for a living, who lives in  Loomis, California, where she grows fruits, vegetable and grapes and makes award winning home wine.

Nevada County Fairgrounds Foundation to Host Cioppino Feed

horse-statue-at-fairgrounds

February 11,2016

Join the Nevada County Fairgrounds Foundation at its sixth annual All-You-Can-Eat Cioppino Feed on Saturday, March 5 in Ponderosa Hall at the Nevada County Fairgrounds. Doors open at 5 pm, and dinner service begins at 6 pm.

For the event, the chefs will create and serve Arnie Romanello’s special 100-year-old recipe for all to enjoy. Dinner includes antipasto, all-you-can-eat Cioppino, salad and garlic bread.  A pasta dish will be available for those who do not prefer Cioppino, but want to attend the event. A no-host bar will be available, and there will be a silent dessert auction and a live auction.

Tickets are $40 per person. If you’d like to purchase a table for 8, it is $400 and includes two bottles of wine.   Tickets are available by visiting the Nevada County Fairgrounds, calling the Fair Office at (530) 273-6217, or downloading an order form at NevadaCountyFair.com/foundation.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the Nevada County Fairgrounds Foundation and its mission of supporting and improving the community’s Fairgrounds, and supporting youth in agriculture.

For more information about the Cioppino Feed or the Foundation, visit NevadaCountyFair.com or call the (530) 273-6217.

John O’Dell
ODell Realty
(530) 263-1091

The Ghost Town of Basilicata

Picture courtesy of Sometimes Interesting “weird, forgotten or sometimes interesting things”

Picture courtesy of Sometimes Interesting “weird, forgotten or sometimes interesting things”

Craco is the southern Italian hill town located Basilicata, about 25 miles inland from the Gulf of Taranto at the instep of the “boot” of Italy. The medieval village of Craco is typical of the hill towns of the region with mildly undulating hills with the lands surrounding it sown with wheat.  During the mid-Twentieth Century recurring earthquakes began to take a toll on the town until between 1959 and 1972, when the village was almost totally destroyed by a series of landslides.

In 1922 over 1,300 Crachesi left to settle in North America because the poor agricultural conditions created desperate times and the land was not producing enough for the people. Craco was doomed. Now, Craco is uninhabited. Starting in 1963, the 1,800 remaining inhabitants were gradually transferred to a valley in a locality called Craco Peschiera.

But, the Craco Society in New York, founded in May 2007 is a non-profit organization to preserve the culture, traditions and history of Craco. Two visits to the site have been made by society members, and as of March 2014, the organization has grown to 466 members. They are currently working on projects to meet future goals.

These goals include: expanding their membership to reach the many Crachesi descendants worldwide in an attempt to share the history, culture and traditions of the town. They are planning the 7th annual Crachesi del Nord America Reunion next summer, and the celebration of San Vincenzo’s 113th year in New York in October, 2014.

They plan to continue to work to support the preservation and renovation of Craco from the ravages of nature, obtaining historical and genealogical records and establishing even closer bonds with the residents of Craco Peschiera. They invite anyone with a special place in their heart for this ancient, historic town to join them in their mission. Contact them at: http://www.thecracosociety.org/.

By Judy Pinegar
Judy is a writer for numerous publications

Online Safety Basics for the Holidays And Year Around

hacker-potential

Photo courtesy of www.telegraph.co.uk

With the holidays coming, the wave of the tech crooks are out in force. Here are some tips to protect yourself.

  • Shop only on secure websites. One indicator of a secure website is the presence of a yellow padlock icon in the browser bar. Another indicator is “https” (as compared to “http” with no “s” at the end) in the web address.
  • Avoid making online purchases in public Wi-Fi hotspots, such as a coffee shop, which can put your credit card numbers and other information at risk.
  • Never send sensitive personal or financial information, such as a Social Security or bank account number, through e-mail. Legitimate companies will not ask you to do so because this is not a secure way to transfer sensitive information.
  • The internet has many legitimate websites that offer vacation homes. However, scammers also put listings on vacation websites. If the price is too good to be true, it usually is.
  • Scammers can use phone apps and games to steal your personal information. Do not download apps unless they are from a known source and have third-party reviews that verify their legitimacy.
  • If you are receiving text messages on your cell phone saying you have won a prize or gift card, do not click on the link in the message – it is most likely a scam and may install a virus on your phone.
  • Consider implementing a two-step protection process for your email account, which pairs “something you know,” like a password or PIN, with “something you have,” like your cellphone or a physical token. This adds an extra layer of security to prevent access to your personal information.  For example, after inputting your password, you will then receive a text on your cellphone, giving you a one-time-use code to log into your email account.  Information on how to set up this two-step protection strategy for each of the following email providers can be found here:

Outlook  http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/two-step-verification-faq

Gmail – http://www.google.com/landing/2step/

Yahoo –  https://help.yahoo.com/kb/account/two-step-verification-extra-account-security-sln5013.html

Source: Attorney General of California

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Enter Nevada County Fair Gingerbread HOuse Contest!

People's choice Kathy Kinney 2014

People’s choice Kathy Kinney 2014

Submit your entry form by Friday, November 20, 2015 

Now is the time for holiday bakers to think about the creation of a magical Gingerbread House to enter into the 13th annual Gingerbread House Competition at the Country Christmas Faire, held November 27, 28, and 29 at the Nevada County Fairgrounds in Grass Valley. Houses, bungalows, cottages, and castles fashioned from spicy gingerbread will be displayed for holiday shoppers to enjoy during the Thanksgiving weekend festivities.

Competitors may enter any of the many categories, including children, teens, adults, special needs, families, and groups.  There’s even a category for children under 8 years of age who want to enter a house made by a kit. All those who enter a Gingerbread House exhibit will receive two free passes to the Country Christmas Faire.

Ribbons are given to all winners, and the Best of Show winner will receive $100. A special gift basket from Tess’ Kitchen Store will also be awarded to the Best of Show winner and the People’s Choice Award winner.

Entry forms must be received at the Fairgrounds between now and Friday, November 20 by 4 pm. The actual gingerbread house entry must be delivered to the Fairgrounds on Tuesday, November 24 between the hours of 11 am – 6 pm at Ponderosa Hall.  The cost is $2 to enter, and all Gingerbread House exhibitors will receive two free passes to the Country Christmas Faire.

Entry forms and a complete list of rules can be picked up at the Fairgrounds office on McCourtney Road, or downloaded from the Fair’s website at www.NevadaCountyFair.com.

The Country Christmas Faire features talented artisans who fill the Fairgrounds exhibit buildings with quality hand-made crafts and unique gifts, so you can get all your holiday shopping done in one location. Visitors to the Faire will enjoy strolling live entertainment, festival foods, wagon rides, and a community bon-fire. Santa Claus will be on hand to greet children, so bring your camera to get that special photo. Santa will be available each day until an hour before closing time.

Free babysitting will be offered by Girl Scouts of the Northern Mines Service Unit so parents can drop off their children while they enjoy holiday shopping. Errand Elves from Clear Creek School will be available to assist shoppers throughout the event.

The 31st annual Country Christmas Faire begins Friday, November 27, and runs through Sunday, November 29.  The hours are 10 am – 5 pm on Friday and Saturday; and 10 am – 4 pm on Sunday. Admission is $4 for adults, and free to children 12 and under. Parking is free. On Sunday, if you bring a can of food, you’ll receive $1 off admission. All food donated is collected by the Grass Valley Elks and used in their Christmas baskets that they hand out in December.

The Nevada County Fairgrounds is located at 11228 McCourtney Road in Grass Valley. For more information, visit www.NevadaCountyFair.com or call (530) 273-6217.

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John J. O’Dell Realtor® GRI
O’Dell Realty
(530) 263-1091
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Nevada County Fairgrounds Begins Search for 2016 Fair Theme

2015 Theme

2015 Theme 

Submit the winning theme and win a prize package to the 2016 Nevada County Fair 

The Nevada County Fairgrounds is hosting a contest to find the winning theme for the 2016 Fair. Do you have a catchy or fun theme that you think would be perfect for the 2016 Nevada County Fair?

Visit the Fair’s website at NevadaCountyFair.com and submit a theme idea that you think would be perfect for the Fair. If the theme you submit is selected, you win. The winner will receive a 2016 Nevada County Fair package that includes two free admission tickets for each day of the Fair, a 5-day parking pass for the Fair, and ride coupons.

Submissions must be five words or less and no trade-marked themes will be considered. The contest runs now through November 5, 2015. For those without access to the Internet, entry forms are available at the Nevada County Fairgrounds office, or information can be mailed to the Fairgrounds at P.O. Box 2687, Grass Valley, CA  95945. No phone entries will be accepted.

Once the winning theme is selected, there will be a contest to design artwork or submit a photo to illustrate the theme. Each year, the theme and artwork appear on advertisements, buttons, posters, banners and the Fair’s website to promote the Fair.

The 2016 Nevada County Fair is scheduled for August 10 – 14. For a complete list of contest rules or information, visit NevadaCountyFair.com or call (530) 273-6217.

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John J. O’Dell Realtor® GRI
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2015 29th Annual Draft Horse Classic Awards Announced Nevada County Fair

“Winner of the Ultimate Hitch Competition – Wayne Wareing of Wareing Shires, based out of Blackfoot, Idaho – performs at the 2015 Draft Horse Classic.”

“Winner of the Ultimate Hitch Competition – Wayne Wareing of Wareing Shires, based out of Blackfoot, Idaho – performs at the 2015 Draft Horse Classic.”

Awards for the 29th annual Draft Horse Classic, held September 24 – 27 at the Nevada County Fairgrounds in Grass Valley, have been announced.  Albert Cleve of Farmington, Missouri, judged the Draft Horse competitions and halter show. Dwight Gilbert from Nevada was the judge of the pulling contest; and Robbie Mederos from Danville, California was the horseshoe competition judge.

More than 50 Draft Horse exhibitors – traveling from California, Oregon, Colorado, and Idaho – competed for approximately $30,000 in premium awards. The competitions took place during six performances over the four-day event.

The winner of the Ultimate Hitch competition was Wayne Wareing of Wareing Shires, from Blackfoot, Idaho.

Audrey Popoff of Unhitched Ranch, from Colton, CA was recognized as the outstanding lady driver, accumulating high points to win the Susan Parnell High Point Perpetual Award.

The Teamster of the Year Award was presented to Deb Luis, an honor bestowed upon her by the voting of her fellow teamsters. Luis is from Debzdrafts in Marysville, CA. The Andy Amsbaugh Teamster Award went to Steve Smith of Quail Creek Percherons, Carmichael, CA; and Dakota Shinn of Shinn Ranch Percherons, Placerville, CA, won the Youth of the Show award.

The Overall Supreme Champion horse, GT Bold Adventure, is owned by Thiel Family Percherons of Pleasant Grove, CA, and shown by Jason Bexon.  The Grand Champion Stallion, Rolling Acres Tyrane, is also owned by Thiel Family Percherons.

The Grand Champion Mare, Noodle, is owned by Top Hand Ranch and shown by Crystal Newborn of Elverta, CA.

The winner in the 2015 Edward Martin Perpetual Horseshoeing Competition was Lance Yohe of Elk Grove, CA.

At the Harvest Fair, with more than 800 items entered, the Best of Division in the Scarecrows went to Sierra View Manor in Grass Valley; and the People’s Choice award for the Scarecrows went to Nicholas Husak of Grass Valley.

A complete list of 2015 Draft Horse Classic awards, as well as all the Harvest Fair winners, is on the Nevada County Fairgrounds’ website at NevadaCountyFair.com. 

The 2016 Draft Horse Classic is scheduled for September 22 – 25. Tickets will go on sale on May 2, 2016.  Visit NevadaCountyFair.com for more information.

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John J. O’Dell Realtor® GRI
O’Dell Realty
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Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Issues Consumer Alert Regarding Reports of Price Gouging During Wildfires

Kamala Harris Attorney General State of California

Kamala Harris Attorney General State of California

California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today issued a consumer alert on reports of price gouging by businesses, namely hotels, during the devastating wildfires that have swept our state. The Attorney General also issued a warning that the California Department of Justice is prepared to investigate and prosecute those that attempt to wrongfully profit from the destructive fires that are driving Californians out of their homes.

“As first responders fight to save communities from raging wildfires and thousands of Californians face devastation and hardship, it is exploitative and also unlawful for businesses to engage in price gouging,” said Attorney General Harris.

California’s anti-price gouging statute, Penal Code Section 396, becomes effective immediately after the Governor or a local official declares a state of emergency. Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in Calaveras and Amador counties on September 11, 2015, and in Lake and Napa counties on September 13, 2015.

California law generally prohibits charging a price that exceeds, by more than 10%, the price of an item before the declaration of emergency. This law applies to those who sell food, emergency supplies, medical supplies, building materials, and gasoline.  The law also applies to repair or reconstruction services, emergency cleanup services, transportation, freight and storage services, hotel accommodations, and rental housing.  Exceptions to this prohibition exist if, for example, the price of labor, goods, or materials have increased for the business.

Violations of the price gouging statute are subject to criminal prosecution that can result in one-year imprisonment in county jail and/or a fine of up to $10,000. Violators are also subject to civil enforcement actions including civil penalties of up to $5,000 per violation, injunctive relief and mandatory restitution.  The Attorney General and local district attorneys can enforce the statute.

Anyone who has been the victim of price gouging, or who has information regarding potential price gouging, is encouraged to immediately file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office by going to theAttorney General’s website or by calling (800) 952-5225.

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Draft Horse Classic and Harvest Fair in Grass Valley 2015

Photo courtesy of Nevada County Fairgrounds

Photo courtesy of Nevada County Fairgrounds

September 24 – 27, 2015

Join the beautiful Draft Horses for the 29th annual Draft Horse Classic and Harvest Fair, happening September 24 – 27, 2015 at the Nevada County Fairgrounds in Grass Valley.

Featuring six performances by the beautiful Draft Horses, this event has grown to become the premiere Draft Horse show in the western United States.

The Classic spotlights a variety of horses, teams, rigs and performances; featuring everything from farm wagons, carriages, and driving competitions to dancing horses and racing mules.

The stars of the show are the horses, and with more than 120 horses stabled on the grounds, the Classic offers a unique chance to observe them in a multitude of settings.

Like last year, we’ve kept lower pricing on adult admission tickets for evening performances, and we’ve also continued the discounted pricing for the morning performances and children’s tickets.

In between classes, enjoy showcase specialty acts. New this year, enjoy Gladius the Show, an acrobatic equestrian production that incorporates aerialists, fire, and Roman riding.

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John J. O’Dell Realtor® GRI
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Guided Barn Tours Offered At This Year’s Draft Horse Classic

Belgian in the barns. Photo courtesy of Nevada County Fairgrounds

Belgian in the barns. Photo courtesy of Nevada County Fairgrounds

September 2015

Get behind-the-scenes and meet the stars of the Classic – the beautiful Draft Horses Guided Barn Tours will be offered to visitors to this year’s Draft Horse Classic and Harvest Fair – giving them an up close and personal visit with the magnificent Gentle Giant Draft Horses.  The behind-the-scenes Guided Barn Tours, led by teamster Eleanor Roberts, are another way for visitors to be able to meet and talk with Draft Horse exhibitors, as well as meet the stars of the Classic.

Barn tours will be held on Friday, September 25, at 3 pm and Saturday, September 26, at 2 pm. Advance reservations are recommended, as there are a limited number of openings for each tour. The cost for the tour is $10 per person, and advance reservations can be made by calling the Fair Office at 530-273-6217. If there is still availability, tickets may also be purchased the day of the event at the Arena box office.

Each tour will last approximately 45 minutes and will include meeting the exhibitors and learning about how they got involved with Draft Horses; discussing and seeing the different Draft Horse breeds; a show-and-tell of Draft Horse equipment, and a discussion about the training of Draft Horses and what it takes to put a team together.

You’ll also get to roam to the various barns on the Fairgrounds to meet the beautiful Draft Horses! The 29th annual Draft Horse Classic and Harvest Fair starts Thursday, September 24 and runs through Sunday, September 27 at the Nevada County Fairgrounds in Grass Valley.

The Draft Horse Classic features six stunning performances in the arena. If you can’t make it to a guided barn tour, the barns are always open for viewing the horses throughout the event in between performances.

Additionally, live entertainment at the Pine Tree Stage, a world class art show, Treat Street goodies, vendors with western wear and items, a clogging jamboree, and a live horse shoeing competition are all part of the Harvest Fair, which takes place at the Fairgrounds during all four days of the Classic.

For tickets to the Draft Horse performances or tickets to the Barn Tours, call the office at 273-6217 or visit NevadaCountyFair.com for information about Draft Horse Classic.

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John J. O’Dell Realtor® GRI
O’Dell Realty
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