Living Columns & Blogs

Sarah Lim: Museum Notes

Preserving History is Important and Fun

The Merced County Historical Society will hold its annual membership meeting on Sunday, Feb. 10 at 2 p.m. at the Merced County Board of Supervisors’ Chamber. In addition to the annual report and award ceremony, the meeting presents a wonderful opportunity for our members as well as the general public to meet, network, and learn.

Merced Life

My (not-so) secret obsession with classic film

My husband Matt grew up in a home where it was considered necessary to have a hobby. One could not be an interesting person without a hobby, according to his parents, and Matt, a natural-born people-pleaser, acquired a multitude of hobbies during his formative years, a few of which have stuck with him throughout his life. The stakes for hobbies in his home were high—it was not enough to have a mere interest in something. No, in Matt’s childhood home, one’s hobby must be useful. It must result in evidence—for Matt, this usually meant things made of wood. Sometimes furniture, but more frequently boxes. In Matt’s reasoning, one can never own too many desk-size wooden boxes, and thus our home has been resplendent with such boxes over the years, until they mysteriously disappear—a phenomenon for which I refuse to admit culpability—and are eventually replaced with more boxes. During our recent move, wooden boxes once again went missing, and so now my husband is in a box-generating phase, which will last for approximately one year, if past experience can be counted on as a reference.

Sarah Lim: Museum Notes

Taking Timeless Classics for a Ride

The Merced County Historical Society membership drive is in full swing with the release of the 2019 calendar. The calendar titled “Taking Timeless Classics for A Ride” features historic photos of cars from the 1900s to the 1960s in the local and regional landscape.

Merced Life

Ozarks, Breaking Bad and other reasons I’m not a drug dealer (#spoilers)

If there is anything I have learned from watching AMC and Netflix over the years, it is that I never want to work for a drug cartel, no matter how much a potential boss might offer to pay me. My commitment to this life motto has been reaffirmed recently while binge-watching Netflix’s Ozark, a show about Marty Byrde, who lives in the Ozarks while laundering money for a Mexican drug cartel.

Sarah Lim: Museum Notes

Singing Love, Home, and Politics

The Courthouse Museum’s “Singing California” exhibit is now on display at the UC Merced Library and its digital content will soon be added to Calisphere. Our UC Merced students will have a chance to view the beautiful vintage sheet music covers and enjoy the “sound” of the past. Growing up with female artists like Taylor Swift and Katy Perry, the students will be surprised to find out that women songwriters are largely absent from this exhibit and they may ask this question, “Where are the women songwriters?”

Merced Life

Dealing with the Vulture Tree

George Pena and I are standing beneath my neighbor’s tree, the huge pine that I have come to think of as the Vulture Tree. He is telling me about his peregrine falcon, Nitro, who died after landing on a high voltage wire. I had met Nitro years ago, and I tell George I am sorry to hear about the falcon’s death. Peregrine chicks are expensive, costing as much as $2,500 to purchase, and then they must be trained for six months before George can use them in his bird abatement business. But it isn’t the financial loss that George is thinking about when he mentions Nitro.

Sarah Lim: Museum Notes

A decade of Art Hopping

Since their first solo event held in 2008, Kevin Hammon and Kimberly Zamora have worked tirelessly to promote the arts in the Merced area. They had a shared vision of what they wanted to see happen for Downtown Merced. As a businessperson and an artist, respectively, the two organizers set off to boost economic growth for businesses in the Downtown Core and help foster a creative and supportive environment for local artists.

Merced Life

The vultures in my Merced neighborhood

There are few things in this world as graceful as a bird in flight and, among birds in flight, vultures might be the most graceful of all. While clumsy on the ground, vultures aloft are able to ride thermals for as long as six hours, rocking back and forth on the wind and never flapping their wings.

Merced Life

New adventures in old re-modeling

Twenty-six years ago, when my husband Matt and I married, we visited Matt’s college friend’s home in Geyserville, a small community along the Russian River. It was a lovely home, located in a neighborhood of towering pines and winding roads, where the houses were close enough to each other to suggest coziness but far enough apart to maintain a sense of privacy. And the homes! They were upscale cabins, really—vacation houses for the wealthy, except these homes were lived in year-round.

Sarah Lim: Museum Notes

Merced: City on the Rise

Nowadays, the popular city slogan is “Merced is a city on the rise,” which is a catchy and clever way to coin the changes taking place in our historic town. Old-timers will remember that they witnessed another “renaissance” (borrowing the term used by Mayor Mike Murphy) back in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Sarah Lim: Museum Notes

Grazie America! From Italy to Merced County

Columnist’s Note: After more than a year of preparation, the Merced County Courthouse Museum opened the “Grazie America! From Italy to Merced County” exhibit on March 16, 2017. The exhibit collected personal stories from more than 130 contributors. As this successful exhibit came to an end on August 6, the process of documenting and preserving their stories continued. This resulted in the publication of a 2-volume book with the same title which will be released this Saturday, July 14, at the Courthouse Museum at 1:00 p.m. The following is Ezio Sansoni’s story, one of the many sweet memories and enduring struggles of the Italian Americans in Merced County.

Merced Life

Blue Collar jobs disappearing

My dad, who died in 2004, was a typical blue-collar man of his generation. He dropped out of school after the eighth grade and when he was 17, he took the GED, joined the Navy, trained as a mechanic, and spent the next 20 years in the Seabees, eventually retiring as a chief petty officer. He was stationed near Saint-Germain-en-Laye, a suburb of Paris, when he met my mother in a bar one night. She also had ended formal schooling after reaching the age of 13, after which she trained as a domestic.

Sarah Lim: Museum Notes

Singing California exhibit opens at the Courthouse Museum

What do George Lucas and Joseph Meyer have in common? They are both Modesto-born artists who made the San Joaquin Valley famous. While Lucas brought Modesto into the national spotlight with American Graffiti (1973), Meyer gave California an unofficial state song titled “California, Here I Come” (1921), which became singer Al Jolson’s signature tune.

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