During a time of uncertainty, let us remember who we are Americans


By Robert Airoldi

Robert Airoldi

We went to print Oct. 30 with this issue, and, lacking a crystal ball, I don’t know the results of the Nov. 3 election as I write these words. When our readers receive their copies of this edition in their mailboxes Wednesday, Nov. 4, most likely they will know which of the two major presidential candidates has won.

Future historians may very well call this year’s election our country’s most contentious race for the White House. My hope is that in its aftermath, regardless of which man might wind up leading our nation for the next four years, we Americans will find ways to stay civil and avoid acts of violence.

Here in South Valley during a time of uncertainty, let us remember who we are Americans. We are at our best when we come together as people who care about the institution of democracy. We are at our best when we work to preserve our rights and freedoms all people must be allowed to enjoy under the law of the land. We are at our best when we take time to respect each other’s opinions and viewpoints, especially those that are contrary to our own. We are at our best when we set aside our political tribal affiliations and understand we all belong to the greater tribe of our common humanity.

The path America decides to take into the future is still uncertain as I write these words. As you read them in the post-Election Day time, my hope is that we as a people will value the traditions of democracy that so many men and women throughout our history have fought for and even died for. As we move forward following the 2020 election, let us put aside our polarization. Let us come together as Americans who stand proud of the heritage we have received from the people of our nation’s past. And let us strive as Americans to give a legacy of hope and peace to the people of our nation’s future.

Photo courtesy Maria Skoczylas
From left, Francesca Paist, Sharon Albert, Maria Skoczylas, and Ellie Carrillo.

Winter is coming and Maria Skoczylas and her daughter, Francesca Paist, the operation manager at the Gilroy Compassion Center, wanted to make sure those in need in South Valley would stay warm during the chilly days.

Their usual coat drive was cancelled because of COVID-19. So they held a special one in Maria’s garage and found the generosity of the local people is overwhelming in their donations of outerwear for the homeless.

More than 130 coats were collected in the three days of the drive, and more are on the way.  They even had 25 shipped from the East Coast by their niece. Maria, a woman of 94 years, sat in her garage from noon to 5 p.m. Oct. 12, 13, and 14. Each day one of her three friends — Jeanette Thatcher, Sharon Albert and Ellie Carrillo — assisted her in sizing and sorting. In addition to coats the drive raised more than $1,650.

“Everyone who donated appreciated the opportunity to share with those less fortunate,” Francesca told us. “Our homeless in need will be warmer this winter because of these donor’s caring and compassionate hearts.”

Photo courtesy Marilyn Wendt
Laurie Barke and Catherine Ferris.

Former Morgan Hill Mayor Laurie Barke has spent 2020 mostly alone, grieving for her husband who died Oct. 17, 2019. So, friends Nicole and David Luyer organized a surprise drive-by celebration in honor of Bernie Barke.

“I wanted to do this for Laurie because she’s an angel straight from heaven,” Nicole said. “She’s been at home by herself and I wanted her to have something special and give her some closure.”

About 20 cars drove by and about 50 friends and neighbors stopped by. Four police cars and two fire trucks (and an ice cream truck for the kids) also participated. There was also a 21-gun salute by the American Legion Honor Guard that included retired building inspector Al Alciatti.

“This Oct. 17 was my first, best day since last Oct. 17,” Barke told us. “It was the day Bernie, my partner and buddy for 58 years, took another journey. What an honor and special memory I will never forget. Thank you all.”

From Nov. 1 through March 31, watering is limited to Wednesdays only, Andi Borowski, environmental services assistant with the city, wanted us to remind our readers.

“Water is always a precious resource in Morgan Hill and with this in mind, our permanent watering restrictions have been designed to best manage the city’s potable water supply,” she said.

Irrigation is allowed before 9 a.m. or after 7 p.m. Watering is limited to no more than 15 minutes per station. Watering will return to the three days a week schedule April 1.

Let us hope we get substantial rain this winter to help us through this drought.

Robert Airoldi