Upbeat Times: 707-494-1767 by Melinda Gay, Upbeat's Charles M. Schulz – Sonoma County Airport Positive info Correspondent
be willing to take a simple digital snap- shot of his artwork. He even threw in a bribe, “a 36-count package of Kit Kat bars.”
Airport Marketing Coordinator Melinda Gay was working on the Airport
SEBASTOPOL, CA. ~ Last spring the Charles M. Schulz – Sonoma County Airport received a letter about a mys- terious occurrence in a five- acre meadow and orchard west of Sebastopol. Snaking among the trees in the grassy expanse were some very inter- esting designs.
The cryptic crop circles
first appeared shortly after 78-year old property owner Neil Davis bought his first
small tractor. Well, OK, Neil got carried away with his new purchase and “celebrated by making crop circles, hearts, and designs” in his orchard. Trouble was, from the ground all you could see were weeds. Neil contacted the Airport in hopes that an enterpris- ing pilot in a small aircraft like “one of the many small planes that have flown over my orchard on a daily basis for the past 35 years” would
ter, The Red Baron Flyer, at the time. She thought, “This will make for a funny story,” not dreaming anyone would actually take
the bait. So, she issued a chal- lenge, “How about it, pilots? Now that it’s mid July and the rainy season is just about over, why not crank up the old flying machine and capture an image of these vegetational wonders?” Neil had placed a large blue
tarp on his patio to help them find their way. Plus, and most importantly, he said there was another 36-pack of Kit Kat bars
in it for Airport staff
for “whatever it would take, within reason, for you to pull this off.” The challenge was on, and faster than a weed can grow, the skies over Neil’s meadow were buzzing with aircraft in a mad race to cap- ture the crunchy prize. First up was pilot Bob Gallagher in his red and white Cessna 152 accompanied by photographer Garry Gay. A couple days later it was businessman and pilot Larry Wasem in his Piper Super Cub PA-18-150.
Bob and Garry circled around for a while trying to find the blue tarp Neil left on his patio. “It’s amazing how many people have blue tarps lying around,” remarked Bob. Larry had some trouble find- ing the designs in the fog, but the skies cleared and the pilot/
Crop Circles Spotted in Sebastopol!
photographer got his shot. Neil was very pleased with the results. The former owner of Sausalito’s famed No Name bar in the 1960s and early 70s, and frequent star in the columns of the late Herb Caen, Neil contacted Leah Garchick of the San Francisco Chronicle, who featured the crop circle fun in her col- umn. The Press Democrat also heard the story and soon the photos were online and in the Towns section of the paper. Neil’s grandson then put it to music and now the story can be seen on You Tube. Neil, a speaker at a recent presentation to the Sausalito Historical Society, shared the crop circle story to a rapt audience along with wild tales of the No Name in its heyday. Tommy Smothers, Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Richard Brautigan, Dan Hicks (of the Hot Lips), Janis Joplin, Bill Cosby, Andy Warhol, Richard Pryor, Hugh Masakela, Miles Davis, Dick Van Dyke, Julie Christie, Clint Eastwood, Sandra Locke, Richard Dreyfus, Bill Graham (just starting out with stapler and posters), and (whew!) Rambling Jack Elliott were among the many luminaries spotted at the club.
just a sampling, some came in more, some less, some were great, some obnoxious,” says Neil of his stellar clientele. Neil has added the tale of his crop circles and the brave pilots of Sonoma County Airport to his repertoire, and for that the Airport is very proud!
As for the crop designs,
they have been mowed under and Neil is already mulling over ideas for next spring, “I want to do Snoopy and Lady Gaga,” he said. And if you are wondering about the Kit Kat bars, well, they went fast and were enjoyed very much!
Duct tape is like the force. It has a light side, a dark side, and it holds the universe together. ~Carl Zwanzig
32 • November 2011 • UPBEAT TIMES LAST
CHANCE FOR COMMERCIAL SOLAR TAX BREAK
By Ross Eppler of Lightspace
SANTA ROSA, CA. ~ Sunny commercial rooftops could represent untapped potential for earnings or savings. And while a solar power system can be depreciated over five years at full value, many folks still find the upfront cost daunting. So the federal gov- ernment developed tax credits to bring the initial cost down. The coming next few weeks might be your last chance to take advantage of one of these opportunities. There are two pieces to the federal program - the Business Energy Investment Tax Credit (ITC) and the Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS) Bonus Depreciation. The ITC, which will be around through 2016, provides a 30% of system cost credit against your taxes, or in some cases can even be obtained as cash if you don’t have tax exposure. Another less known piece expires at its present rate at the end of this year.
But don’t wait around; the system must be built and commissioned before the end of the year. Ross Eppler, of Lightspace Solar says, "While you might get the system put up pretty fast, utilities often take several weeks to schedule and execute your interconnec- tion to the grid." So don’t wait. Especially if you are one of those folks in the highest tax brackets! Why? A little bit of math reveals that higher taxa- tion means a bigger tax credit with the Bonus Depreciation. It allows a tax credit worth 85% of system cost multiplied times your tax rate. And guess what; you get to add it to the ITC! This means for those paying the highest tax rates that 60-70% of your system could be handed back as a tax credit in the first year.
You can't have everything... where would you put it? ~ Steven Wright
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