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Sonoma County Gazette
Camp Meeker Beat by Tom Austin

New Fire Chief in Town

Sep 29, 2018
by Tom Austin


October is here, and with it we fervently hope the rainstorms that will put an end to another California fire season.  Camp Meeker has (knock on redwood) made it through another fire season, in no small thanks to the hard work of our Volunteer Fire Department.  For the past seven years, the Camp Meeker VFD has been ably led by Fire Chief Tim Williams, but as of now there’s anew Fire Chief in town. 

Tim Williams is retiring from the position following the birth of Hayley, his second granddaughter.  Tim will be handing off the reins of the VFD in order to spend time with his grandchildren, his wife Sarah, and the rest of his family, and this is a decision richly earned by countless hours of service to the community.  I’m happy to report that Tim will continue as a regular firefighter for the VFD. 

So let me introduce you to the new Fire Chief... Mr. Henry Baker, Jr.

Henry is a long time resident of Camp Meeker, and he brings a raft of valuable experience to the job.  Henry felt the firefighter’s calling right out of high school, joining CalFire as a full-time firefighter.   Henry is stationed at Cazadero in the summer and Monte Rio in the winter.  In that capacity, Henry has helped extinguish many structure fires, and has been on the front lines of many of the destructive and terrifying wildfires that have made California summers such an adventure and a tragedy these past few years.  Henry Jr’s Camp Meeker roots go deep. Let’s all congratulate Tim his service as Chief, wish Henry well as he fills some large shoes, and of course continue to thank Tim as he continues to serve the Camp Meeker community.

But wait, there is more VFD news! 

Every Memorial Day we know to head down to the firehouse for a pancake breakfast, and every November we know to head over to Anderson Hall for a spaghetti dinner – until this year, that is.   Oh, we’ll still head down to Anderson Hall, but instead of spaghetti we will find a BBQ and Bingo Night! That’s right, you will be feasting on mouth-watering chicken or tri-tip (or, heck, both!  Life is short!) as you mark your bingo card.  As with the spaghetti dinner, proceeds will be used to fund the operations of our stalwart VFD as they work hard to keep us safe in our homes.

And now, if you’ll permit me, I’m going to go on a rant. 

Driver of the black sedan, I’m talking to you.  As you all are well aware, streets in Camp Meeker are narrow, and they are NOT one-way streets.   This means that at any time, you might find yourself face to face with a vehicle heading the other way.  This calls for, as you are all well aware, some neighborly negotiation.  Generally, whoever has the easiest time of it will back into a nearby driveway, or otherwise get out of the way so that the impasse can be resolved. The driver of the other car will then wave thanks to the first driver for the act of graciousness undertaken to make room for two cars to get to their destination.

But that’s not what happened the other day.  Oh, no.  That’s when I found myself heading down the steep slope of Sequoia Drive, only to find the aforementioned black sedan driving up that slope at a pretty good clip.  When she saw me, she lurched to a sudden stop.  Taking stock, I noticed that she had an empty driveway immediately to her right, a maneuver that requires exactly zero skill.  Did she avail herself of that driveway?  Noooooo.  Instead, she sat there, motionless, expecting me to instead back my car up the steep slope of Sequoia, around the curve, and by several parked cars, to make room for Her Highness to proceed on her way. Yeah, I could have held my position and out-stubborned her, but I decided to be the bigger man, even if it meant performing a considerably more difficult and dangerous maneuver than pulling into a freakin’ driveway.  I’m STILL wondering what story she told herself to justify that bit of business. Did she think it was a one-way street, or did she just want to win? I guess we’ll never know, until the next time that black sedan comes blasting up one of our narrow two-way streets.

Be alert.



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