Living Columns & Blogs

Merced Life

I’m pulling for the Merced Mall. And I’m dreaming big!

Go to YouTube, type in “Dead Malls,” and you will be able to view a series of depressing videos featuring dying and already dead malls throughout our country. Ask anyone under the age of 30 about the popularity of malls in America today, and you will receive confirmation that malls are no longer the social hubs of commerce they were just 10 years ago.

Sarah Lim: Museum Notes

Women Making a Difference

March has been an exciting and reflecting month. As we celebrate Women’s History Month, we also mourn the loss of our beloved community members and museum volunteers Maggie Randolph and Barbara Hale. Maggie is best known for her dedication to the founding and growth of Merced College. Barbara was an outstanding reporter and editor for the Merced Sun-Star until her retirement in the early 2010s.

Sarah Lim: Museum Notes

Merced Falls: Water, Power, and Mills

One February day in 1913, Hugo Barrett, a local farmer, dropped off a postcard at the Merced Falls Post Office in the Yosemite Lumber Company. It had a simple message to his wife, Emma Alice, who was visiting her sister in San Francisco: “Dear Alice, you had better stay down until Sunday anyway. Everything is OK here.” Hugo missed his bride and was excited to share with her a postcard image of something that had made Merced Falls, once again, the industrial center of Merced County.

Merced Life

Nutria rats are the stuff of nightmares

I consider myself a gentle lover of wildlife. I do not like to kill flies, literally, because who am I to determine the fate of a fly? The value of a fly’s life might be infinitely more significant to some superior being than we mere mortals might suspect, and it is certainly important to the fly, even if flies are incapable of conceiving thoughts such as “important” or “I think that newspaper hovering over my head means I am about to die.”

Merced Life

Cursive penmanship’s decline into obscurity. I don’t miss it.

It is almost certain that if you attended elementary school at any time after 1950 in the United States, you learned cursive writing from a teacher who was wholly unqualified to teach it. That’s because stodgy Mr. McCullen, with his runny nose and squeaky shoes, or crazy Mrs. Vierra, apt to become apoplectic at discovering a wad of chewing gum on the floor, would have attended a university where formal penmanship was no longer taught, a development that began in academia around the 1930s, when most professors began to accept only typewritten work from their students. Thus, if you are inclined to look with nostalgia upon the days when you were required to write in longhand “The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog” — a sentence which contains all the letters of the English alphabet — over and over again, until you got all the loopy letters right, then you will need to go back about nine decades to pinpoint the moment at which the art of cursive writing began its slow decline into obscurity.

Merced Life

Watching American Royalty

Over the past century or so, our nation’s celebrities have become the American answer to British royalty. We lesser mortals fawn over them, rolling out red carpets for them to stride and pose upon. We hunger for candid pictures of them, engage in gossip about the seamiest details of their private lives, name our children after them. Many of them are remarkably talented, though also astonishingly overpaid. Many have no talents at all, but somehow, through outrageousness or mere association with other celebrities, worm their way into the public consciousness. Few of them do much real work for the public good, but I am not one of those people who ascribe to the conviction that celebrities should just go about their business of entertaining us and leave politics to other, better-informed individuals.

Sarah Lim: Museum Notes

A Christmas Tradition

The Hollywood Christmas Parade is an annual tradition in Los Angeles that dates back to the 1920s. Featuring celebrities, beautiful floats, and wonderful music, the parade takes place the Sunday after Thanksgiving and will be broadcast different dates before Christmas. This year, one of the celebrated participants was the Golden Valley High School Cardinal Regime —The Pride of Merced.

Sarah Lim: Museum Notes

From Gateway Garage to a Gateway to the Arts

Recently, I attended a concert by guitarists Francesco Buzzurro, Richard Smith and local favorite John Albano at the Multicultural Arts Center in downtown Merced. As I listened to these three wonderful performing artists and my mind wandered off to the Island of Sicily, I couldn’t help thinking, “where am I?”

Sarah Lim: Museum Notes

Once a Neumann Home

A couple of columns ago, I wrote about a photo entitled “Calm Before the Storm” which depicts an aerial view of west Merced looking from the rooftop of Hotel El Capitan in the early 1910s. My original reason for examining this photo was to research the site where the UC Merced Downtown Campus Center is currently under construction.

Merced Life

Marriage is easier than owning a home

This coming week, my husband Matt and I will have been married for 25 years. This is the same number of years we have lived in our house, and so we are left with the question of which anniversary is most worth celebrating. We never anticipated 25 years of marriage or home ownership, but here we are, 25 years having passed by without our ever taking much notice of time marching along.

Mariposa Life

Picking up the pieces after the Detwiler Fire

Rob and Rhonda Falany of Hunters Valley were one of the first families to be evacuated during the Detwiler fire. After the fire was contained in their area, a firefighter told them their house was destroyed, but their garage and storage shed were still there.

School stories, a new Sun-Star column from Sara Sandrik

This new column comes in the wake of my own personal “breaking news.” After nine incredible years as the North Valley reporter and weekend anchor for ABC30 (and 16 years in television news altogether), I am excited to now be the first public infor