ANC’s 2nd Carr Fire Scholarship Auction is Underway

I am excited and honored to announce that here at aNewsCafe.com we’re busily preparing for our second annual aNewsCafe.com Carr Fire Scholarship fundraiser via our upcoming online auction.

I hope you remember last year’s auction, how it started with ANC’s own Deborah Segelitz and her Carr Fire Phoenix donation, commissioned by her in Scotland, created in Wales, then mailed to Scotland, and then mailed to me here in Redding in time for the auction. (Click here to read Deborah’s column that explains her inspiration for the Carr Fire Phoenix.)

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

The winning bid for the Carr Fire Phoenix went to Eleanor Townsend, who then graciously entrusted its care to Matt Grigsby, who vowed to keep it safe until the next auction.

Last year, Matt Grigsby accepted the profound responsibility as keeper of the Carr Fire Phoenix following Eleanor Townsend’s successful bid for the hand-blown piece of art, which has become the unofficial Carr Fire Scholarship mascot.

The auction generated a lot of interest, and lively, competitive bidding. (Click here to read about last year’s winning bids.)

Auction bidding will begin Mon. Jan. 6, and will conclude Thur. Jan. 9. The reception for donors and recipients will be held at my house at 7 p.m. Fri. Jan. 10.  Mark your calendars.

Last year, for our first Carr Fire Scholarship fundraiser, ANC’s awesome supporters participated as contributors and bidders. In the end, because of many of you, ANC raised more than $5,000 for five high school seniors who lost homes in the Carr Fire.

In the spring of 2019 ANC proudly presented each of those five students with a $1,000 scholarship. The students were Sophie Bunton of Shasta High School,, Daisy Brummer, also of Shasta High, Madison Morton from Central Valley High School, Justin Matties of U-Prep High School and Mason Buck of Foothill High School.

My only regret is that we didn’t have more money to give to more students.

All this background leads me to ANC’s 2020 online auction to benefit 2020 graduating seniors who lost homes in the 2018 Carr Fire.

We’ll use the same format as last year’s auction: We will accept worthy donations, then start posting details about each item here on ANC for all to see. Finally, we will open the bidding in the comments section below each item. This year, I promise to not close the bidding at some ridiculous time, like midnight. Have I told you lately how sorry I was about that last year? Truly. Sorry.

Here are the items donated so far, starting with Deborah Segelitz’s second Carr Fire Phoenix, which she also  commissioned from the same Welsh artist, Paul Jones of the aptly named Phoenix Glass. This time, the mighty Phoenix is felted, which made for a lot less stress when mailing. The felted Carr Fire Phoenix does have a glass beak, which survived the trip across the pond just fine.

This year’s Carr Fire Phoenix, donated by Deborah Segelitz, is a felted work of art. Once again, Doni’s photography does not do the Phoenix justice.

J’Anna Jacoby (daughter of ANC’s A.J. Jacoby) is a very big deal, I mean, other than being A.J.’s daughter. J’Anna grew up in Redding, and is famous as a member of Rod Stewart’s band.  She also has the distinction of donating the very first item for the 2020 auction: a wood-and-metal coat/hat hanger, made of a wine-barrel slat. It would look terrific in my home, and I have a place selected to hang it. To borrow J’Anna’s mother’s phrase, just sayin’.

Roberta Busher of the Happy Valley-based Clear Creek Soap Company provided the second donation, a large gift basket filled with Clear Creek Soap Company goodies: Six assorted soaps, two cuticle balms, two solid lotions, muscle rub, foot rub, Bug Off, a soap dish, and hand-knitted washcloth, all in one pretty basket. I am a fan of Busher’s products (especially the Hippy Chick fragrance) and plan on bidding on this basket.

Once again, Erin Friedman donated one of her stunning watercolor paintings. This year’s is “The View From the Trail”. The painting depicts a scene from the Davis Gulch Trail at Whiskeytown, before the Carr Fire. I have someone in mind for whom this would make a terrific gift.

ANC’s own Joanne Snyder has also submitted another piece to this second auction, a beautiful piece of pottery, made just for the auction. The piece she donated last year was a popular item, with many bidders. I was bummed that I wasn’t the high bidder last year. I am glad for a second chance next month.

ANC’s Matt Grigsby, the Carr Fire Phoenix trustee, has specially selected four of his wonderful photographic miniature artworks, just for ANC’s Carr Fire Scholarship auction. I can’t wait to see them. Yes, I do already own five of Matt’s delightful square photographs, so would it appear greedy if I owned four more Grigsby originals? I say no, it would not be greedy, but the start of a lovely collection.

Of course, the first Carr Fire Phoenix will return for the bidding, which means Matt Grigsby must relinquish it for the 202o auction. It’s anyone’s guess if the 2020 highest Care Fire Phoenix bidder will actually take home the glass Phoenix and keep it forever, or if they will follow Eleanor Townsend’s example and entrust it to Matt again. It’s anyone’s guess.

Meanwhile, I’m saving the most valuable donation (thus far) for last: Once again, Janine Hall of Janine’s Jewelry of Redding has designed and created another spectacular pendant, just for the 2020 auction. I’ve seen it. I’ve held it, and admired and coveted it under full sunlight. It is absolutely exquisite. It is also being held for safekeeping with Janine, whose business is accustomed to storing precious things; a far better idea than last  year, when I kept the pendant in my most special dresser drawer. I was a nervous wreck until the auction was over the pendant found its rightful home with the highest bidder.

Last year Janine blew us away with her solid handcrafted 14-kt gold pendant, especially designed and created for ANC’s auction with the Carr Fire in mind. It featured 2.5 carats of opal, and .22 carats of diamonds. It would have retailed for $2,400. A tenacious bidder who would not be outbid acquired the pendant for $1,978, which turned out to be a significant date – 1978 – for the recipient and her husband. I’m hoping that for this year’s winning bidder, 2020 will be a significant date, or perhaps even a future date, such a special anniversary or retirement year, say 2030?

Janine Hall created this pendant last year especially for aNewsCafe’s first auction to benefit Carr Fire graduating seniors.

This year, Janine has already outdone herself with another work of art, just for ANC’s Carr Fire Scholarship Auction.  Once again, Janine implemented a fire-theme stone in her design.

This gorgeous pendant is a 10-carat Fire Agate and Diamond pendant in 14 carat yellow gold. Really, photos don’t fully capture the color and beauty of this piece.

Here’s a closer view of it.

Maybe that’s too close. Here’s another view.

That’s what we have thus far. Plus, we’ve already heard from two generous donors who wish to contribute money to the Carr Fire Scholarship Fund, for which I am grateful beyond measure.

If you’re interested in making a donation to ANC’s Carr Fire Scholarship Fundraiser, please contact me via email at donic.anewscafe@gmail.com. We will accept items through Dec. 31. I’ll be publishing posts of the items beginning next week.

Also, those who wish to make a financial donation to benefit the scholarship fund may make checks out to A News Cafe Carr Fire Scholarship Fund, and mail checks in care of A News Cafe at P.O. Box 990644, Redding, CA, 96099.

Thank you to every person who’s already donated. Thank you in advance to those who have yet to contribute,  whether via an item, or a financial gift, or by participating in the A News Cafe Carr Fire Scholarship auction to benefit graduating seniors who lost homes in the 2018 Carr Fire.

And that’s what this fundraiser is all about: students who lost homes in the Carr Fire. We want them to know we remember the summer of 2018, and how it changed us all. But most of all, we want those students to know that we remember their great losses, and although we cannot bring back their homes, and we cannot erase the trauma of what they’ve experienced, we can demonstrate our belief in them and their ability to thrive and build new lives, even after trial by fire.

Stay tuned for more details about the auction. And then, let the fundraising begin!

Doni Chamberlain

Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded A News Cafe in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke. Chamberlain holds a Bachelor's Degree in journalism from CSU, Chico. She's 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's been featured and quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, The Washington Post, L.A. Times, Slate, Bloomberg News and on CNN, KQED and KPFA. She lives in Redding, California.

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