I just read Matthew Wilson’s Close to Home article on why he quit cycling. This man’s riding experiences sound like he has (or had) an overabundance of bad bike karma. One of his comments struck me as why it’s a good think he quit riding. No one should stick their hand out in traffic let alone make a left turn without knowing where the traffic is around you. If you are not 100% sure of what’s behind you STOP, get off the road and turn your bike parallel to the road. Look both ways and then proceed. Common sense goes a long way in safe cycling. My riding partner has long advocated that it should be a law that every cyclist should have to wear a helmet with a small rearview mirror attached to it. We would never ride without these two indispensable safety features. Seeing one hundred yards behind you only requires quick glance without having to turn your head. Here’s to safe and happy cycling.
Letter to the Editor
By Michael Haran
Published Healdsburg Tribune 3/28/2013
I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read in “Foss Creek Circle one-way remains” that “Silver Oak Cellars General Manager Tony LaBlanc said he was willing to do what he could to help find a solution to the problem, but reminded the council it wasn’t the opinion of his business that Foss Creek Circle be made one way.” I thought this whole mess was over the ingress and egress of the Silver Oaks trucks. But I guess it wasn’t One councilman told me that there had been some near collisions with people exiting their driveway around the circle. Well if that’s the rationale for this boondoggle I think we should make every street in Healdsburg one way and we should start with the streets around the plaza. We could conduct a totally unrepresentative straw poll to justify this unnecessary waste of city money. Everyone who has a driveway coming on to a city street will be entitled to have their street made into a one way street at city expense. Why anger just a small segment of the town when you can anger everyone? Although I do think those little flags on top of the no left and right turn signs do look kind of festive.
by Michael Haran
Healdsburg Tribune Commentary 11/16/2012
After reading Shonnie Brown’s article about Joel and Renee Kiff I just have to comment on what Joel Kiff means to me. We moved to Healdsburg in September of 2006. I was helping out with the HFM annual pumpkin race when someone called my name. I turn to see an older gentleman who I didn’t recognize staring at me. I took a closer look and then said “Mr. Kiff?” He gave me a broad smile as I was coming out of my initial shock. It was not only fifty years since I had seen him how could he not only remember me but also recognize me after having taught hundreds if not thousands of students.
Joel Kiff was my algebra teacher and football/track coach at Marin Catholic High school from 1962 to 1965. I am the oldest boy in what was a very dysfunctional family of ten kids. Back then ADD was treated with corporal punishment and I became chubby using food to compensate for my lack of proper family support. I couldn’t even make the freshman basketball team I was so fat.
My grades were terrible and I was in danger of becoming one of the 36 boys in my class that either left the school or were kicked out. Most teachers didn’t have the time or inclination to work with marginal students. I remember Joel as one of the few teachers I had who would put in extra time with a failing student. I think it was more his calm demeanor and personal attention that had the biggest impact on me. Under his instruction the light went on and I “got it.” It was such a contrast from my family life and other teachers at the school.
Back in those days Catholic school football teams were hardly the juggernauts that they are today. We had 300 boys compared to the public school’s 1000. We consistently got trounced by the much bigger public schools. I remember Joel telling us that life isn’t necessarily about winning it’s about trying and the sheer joy of overcoming the odds against you. It made the game so much more fun for us even in losing. But you know what, we started winning a few games and it’s something I’ll never forget.
He talked to us about physical conditioning and how it was more than just getting in shape to play sports. He explained that good physical conditioning was important for a good life and that being in shape helps with the concentration you need to get good grades. To this day I can’t be sure that Joel’s attention, insights and kindness to me are what allowed me to go on and play for a USAF command basketball team or get a business degree from SSU but I think it was.
Joel and Renee have meant a lot to our Healdsburg community. Joel is in failing health now so whenever I see him I try to think of the high school experiences that we shared as student – teacher/coach and reminisce. I you know Joel you might want to send him a card. Thanks, Joel. This is what you mean to me.
Michael Haran is a resident of Healdsburg