ANC Selects Carr Fire Scholarship Recipients – And Plans for Auction 2019

Raise your hand if it seems a lot longer than six months since A News Cafe opened the Carr Fire Scholarship Auction for bidding. To refresh your memory, you can click here to see a list of the 2018 auction items.

And yet, it was barely a half a year ago when we posted 15 sets of items on ANC for our first online auction to benefit ANC’s Carr Fire Scholarship Fund.

In my early dreams, we’d raise a few thousand dollars. In reality, we raised more than $5,000. Credit for this success goes to our ANC folks who were such awesome bidders, and of course, the generous donors who contributed everything from wine and art to a handmade afghan and a dinner for eight at my house.

You may recall that Deb Segelitz, ANC’s favorite American in Scotland, came up with the idea of an online auction after feeling so frustrated at being unable to help her north state friends after the Carr Fire. She commissioned a Welsh artist to create the Carr Fire Phoenix, the auction’s first official auction donation.

The Carr Phoenix glass sculpture, commissioned by Deborah Segelitz, created by artist Paul Jones. This is the auction’s first item.

It was purchased by winning bidder Eleanor Townsend, an ANC family member since the site’s  beginning, but instead of keeping it for herself, Eleanor graciously handed the Phoenix over for safekeeping to Matt Grigsby as the guardian of the delicate hand-blown creature, until the next auction.

Matt Grigsby holds the precious Carr Fire Phoenix during the Carr Fire Auction gathering at Doni’s house where donors and winning bidders met.

After all, if it weren’t for Matt Grigsby, there would be no Deb Segelitz on ANC, since he is the one who reached out to her – his online friend – to pitch the idea of a column on ANC. That was 50 columns ago.

Of course, I am grateful to all the donors, but I must give special recognition to Janine Hall of Janine’s Jewelers, who created the incredible Carr Fire pendant, a stunning piece of jewelry, just for this auction. I still remember the day when she walked to my house (we’re neighbors) and we stood on my front lawn to look at the pendant in the sunshine, so I could appreciate it in the full light. I don’t know when I’ve been more smitten by a piece of jewelry.

Janine Hall created this gold, opal and diamond pendant especially for aNewsCafe’s first online auction to benefit Carr Fire graduating seniors.

The pendant garnered the highest bid, bringing $1,978 to the auction. As it turned out, 1978 was a significant year for the person who took home the pendant with her winning bid.

I opened up a bank account just for the Carr Fire Scholarship funds. And there the money has sat since the auction; all $5,380 of it. (The actual auction brought in $4,818, but the amount grew to $5,380 because of mailed-in donations by wonderful ANC folks who wished to participate via financial contributions only.)

Our application had an April 17 deadline. It explained that the scholarships would be awarded to five graduating high school seniors who lost their homes in the July 2018 Carr Fire, and who planned to attend an accredited college or trade school following graduation.

I enlisted the assistance of three ANC family members/subscribers, all retired teachers: Joanne Snyder Lobeski, Anita Brady and Eleanor Townsend.

Anita and Joanne created the Carr Fire Application form, and contacted north state high schools to let counselors pass on the applications to the appropriate students.

We held two meetings; one to plan how to progress with the scholarship process, one to make our selections. Of course, lunch was involved. Alcohol was not. Trust assured we had our wits about us for this important task.

Yesterday afternoon Joanne, Eleanor and I met at my house to look over the applications and choose the five students who would each be awarded $1,000. (Anita was out of town, but gave us her blessing to make the best choices.)

Eleven students sent in applications, and we selected the five recipients. I won’t share their names now, because it’s supposed to be a surprise for the students during the awards presentation ceremonies in a few weeks.

I will tell you that the recipients are graduating seniors from Shasta High School, Foothill High School, Central Valley High School and University Preparatory School. The winners are a mix of young men and young women.

I confess that initially, as the applications started arriving in my post office box, I felt a bit disappointed that more students didn’t apply. But when the day finally arrived for our committee to make our selections, 11 applications were more than enough to consider. Less applications meant fewer students to disappoint, fewer hopes to dash.

The awards ceremonies will take place from May 20 to May 31, which our committee members will attend to personally award the students their certificates on behalf of everyone at ANC who made the scholarships a reality.

If you were an auction bidder, then thank you. If you were an auction donor, then thank you. If you contributed money to the auction, without bidding, then thank you. If you were a winning bidder, then thank you.

I hope you had fun last year, because we’re already planning ANC’s 2019 online auction to benefit the Carr Fire Scholarship Fund for 2020 graduating seniors who lost homes in the Carr Fire. Ideas are welcome. Donations are welcome. We have a $380 head start, from the money left over from the 2018 auction.

I already know that I won’t pull the dumb move I did last year by having the auction close at midnight, because that meant serious bidders and I were all up until past midnight. Nope. Won’t do that again. Other than that, I’m open to suggestions.

We are excited about what this next auction will bring in the fall of 2019. Who knows, maybe we’ll raise $11,000, just in case we have 11 applicants again next year, so that way, everyone will be a winner.

But most of all, I am so proud of everyone at ANC who made it possible for five students who lost their homes in the Carr Fire to receive something good related to the same fire that took so much away.

Sometimes, even smoke has a silver lining.

Doni Chamberlain
Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded what’s now known as anewscafe.com in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke of the Czech Republic. Chamberlain is an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She lives in Redding, California.
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37 Responses

  1. Deb Segelitz Deb Segelitz says:

    I love this update! It’s wonderful that enough money was raised to give scholarships to five students – what a success, and all through the fabulous ANC family.

    I do want to give credit where it is due, though – Barbara Rice was the first step on my road to ANC. Matt Grigsby did one of his wonderful Matt’s Chats interviews with me, which might have been my first ‘appearance’ here, so he was the first ANC person visibly linking me to my much-loved writing home :-). But it was Barbara who got the ball rolling in her quietly-in-the-background way (thank you, Barbara!). I’m so glad to both of them, and to Doni, for giving me the chance to be here!

    Now on to the business of the next auction – I am going to go send off an email right now to see what I can have created especially for ANC, for my next donation! Here’s to another great success – with a kinder cutoff time for Doni’s and the bidders’ sakes!

    • Barbara Rice Barbara Rice says:

      Aw shucks. Yes, you and I met first and then I think after he read your wonderful witty writing (BWIAS! KIACWM! and my favorite which I will not spell out here but the initials are JT), he asked me, “Do you think she would be my friend too?”
      We are all SO GLAD you are here.

      • Avatar Matthew Grigsby says:

        Exactly this. Barbara Rice deserves credit for discovering Deb and bringing her into the ANC family. From pretty much Deb’s first sentence I was a fan, and continue to be all these years later. It’s just a bonus that I *also* get to be her friend!

        Deb, your contributions enrich the North State and make the world feel like a smaller and more cozy space. I can think of few people who would be able to pull off that feat!

        • Deb Segelitz Deb Segelitz says:

          So glad for your friendship, Matt! You and Barbara are two of my absolute favorites in the universe, truly.

      • Deb Segelitz Deb Segelitz says:

        Hahahaha oh dear, I haven’t thought of JT in more than ten years. I wonder if she’s still J-ing her T-s all over the office?

        I am so glad we are friends. Not only that, because of you I know the fabulous Matt, and then, to make life even sweeter, I get to hang out here at ANC, too. Thank you, sincerely.

    • Sorry I’m late to the party. I’ve been away from my computer all day. Well, Barbara or Matt or both, either way, we’re so glad you are part of ANC.

      And I’m overjoyed about the prospect of another auction donation from you. Thank you in advance!

      • Deb Segelitz Deb Segelitz says:

        My pleasure! Paul Jones is on the case! 🙂 And I’m glad to be here, too, so very glad!

  2. Avatar erin friedman says:

    Thank you for the update — and for all your hard work. I have been busy painting more local scenes – so I will be happy to donate framed watercolor to next year’s auction. Keep me posted. Congratulations on a brilliant idea, beautifully executed — because YOU fostered this caring community.

    • Oh, Erin, we would be honored to have another one of your pieces of art for this auction. I loved the piece you donated last year. So, yes! We say yes to your donation.

      Thank you!

      • Avatar Anita Brady says:

        I am loving that donated piece of art that is currently on my mantle and will shortly go in my “take during evacuation box” during the upcoming fire season.

  3. Avatar Linda Cooper says:

    Brings tears to my eyes! Such a creative grass roots effort.

    • I know. It brings tears to my eyes, too. I think I will have to practice handing the award certificate without crying. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can …

  4. Avatar Janet Stortz says:

    I second the the tears, and I am so proud of you all/us all that you found a way to find that silver lining.
    I smile every time I see my lovely mirrored heart, pieces made a beautiful whole.

  5. Avatar Matthew Grigsby says:

    Doni, you’ve pulled off something quite wonderful here and it fills my heart to hear the scholarships are making their way into the hands of young people to make their futures brighter.

    I eagerly look forward to what the next auction will bring, and how fiercely people will fight to win their treasures! I’m sure I’ll throw a few punches myself. 🙂

    • LOL, dear Matt, your most pressing job is just to keep that little Carr Fire Phoenix safe and sound for this next auction …

      But, I wouldn’t say no to a Matt Grigsby original, either. 😉

  6. Avatar Candace C says:

    Thanks for the “good news” update! The auction was a lot of fun and all your hard work ( and bank hassles!) certainly paid off in numerous ways. Not only did you make it possible for some deserving HS students to get a leg up, you made it possible for people that wanted to help in whatever way they could to come together as a “family” and do that. Hats off to you m’dear!

    • Oh, Candace, you were my right-hand helper to assist with that final stretch minutia, so I thank you for that. Hats off to you, too, my dear.

      You also donated some spectacular pieces from your departed mother’s collection, for which I was so grateful, so thank you for that, too.

      And if you’d like to help me again this year, I’d love to have your able self at my side. No pressure.

      • Avatar Candace C says:

        I didn’t do much but thanks for thanks. I’d love to help again and I’ll have some more things to donate as well ( with your approval of course!). I took a fall and broke a rib so I’m currently on the mend but I’ll certainly be able to help in the future and would love to do so.

        • Oh my gosh, Candace! I’m so sorry to hear about your injury. I hope you’re healing nicely, and not just so you can help me in the fall with the auction.

          I look forward to anything you donate, and I trust your selections completely. You have impeccable taste.

          Feel better soon!

  7. Adrienne Jacoby Adrienne Jacoby says:

    GRRRR . . . . I hate when that happens. I write a perfectly (in my memory, at least) crafted response to something and then . . . and then . . . . it disappears into the ether . . .
    What I think I said was
    YEA for us . . . . this community effort kinda seems like the modern first cousin to an old fashioned barn raising! The unselfish effort of many for the benefit of someone in need!! And I already have something I’d like to submit for Doni’s approval for next year.

    • Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

      An ANC sing-along with AJ at the piano! Caroling perhaps.

      • Adrienne Jacoby Adrienne Jacoby says:

        OH BEVERLY . . . I love that idea. Caveat: whoever bids needs to have a piano in their house or at whatever venue they would choose . . . . let’s work on that one!!

        • Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

          I don’t have a piano, but I’ve been thinking of purchasing a keyboard. But if there are enough folks interested in a sing-along, perhaps one of them could provide a piano to the successful bidder.

    • Avatar Linda Cooper says:

      Adrienne, I used the term “grass roots.” I like your “barn raising” best. And I thought of you while reading Doni’s article. With a scholarship committee, you know what goes into making it work. Further, I appreciated you writing, “for Doni’s approval next year.” For me, that would be a challenge to not accept some bid items. Doni is such a good gal!

      • Honestly, I can’t imagine what someone might donate that I would turn down. My philosophy is that there’s something for everyone, and if someone thought it was worthy enough to donate, then someone else would consider it worthy enough for bidding.

        Besides, ANC people have good taste. 😉

    • A.J., I trust you completely. I loved the donation you offered last year, the little hand-thrown wood-fired pot and lid made by friend Joanne Lobeski Snyder. I loved it!

  8. Adrienne Jacoby Adrienne Jacoby says:

    Also I’d like to say a big thank you to the scholarship committee, Doni in particular, for all the effort that goes into this activity. If you read my last submission on ANC you know that I am quite familiar with all the vagrancies that are involved. From my perspective, you received a really good response.
    Keep the faith . . .
    Keep up the good work . . . .

    • Well, thank you, A.J. This was my first time to participate in a scholarship selection process, and it was difficult in that I really wanted everyone to get a scholarship. I know life’s not like that, but still. …

      But having a committee of ANC’s retired teachers made the different. They know the academic world, and have been immensely helpful. Truly, I wouldn’t have/couldn’t have done it without them.

  9. Dr. Patty Dr. Patty says:

    Doni, I will donate a pine needle basket to the auction

    • Oh, Patty. I have coveted your exquisite pine-needle baskets for years. They are works of art, and I would be honored to accept one from you as a donation to our auction. Thank you!

  10. Avatar Candace C says:

    Doni, Thanks much for your well wishes. I’m becoming very adept at picking things up with my toes. Who knows, perhaps there’ll be a tight wire walker opening for me on the Senior Cirque de Soleil circuit?

  11. Avatar Karen Bennett says:

    Doni ~ Would you please pass on my thoughts and thanks to Karen Field for making and donating her beautiful afghan for last year’s auction. I was the lucky bidder and I use it every single day! (it’s still chilly in our part of Oregon). It’s SO soft & comfy. The auction was a wonderful idea and gift to all of us. Thank you! Looking forward to the next ~

    • Oh, Karen, it makes me so happy knowing that beautiful afghan is with you. It was a popular item (I bid on it, too). Thank you for being part of ANC while living in Oregon. We appreciate you.