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By Roz Rogoff

About this blog: In January 2002 I started writing my own online "newspaper" titled "The San Ramon Observer." I reported on City Council meetings and other happenings in San Ramon. I tried to be objective in my coverage of meetings and events, and...  (More)

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Dawn at the Valley Children's Museum (VCM)

Uploaded: Jun 29, 2012
I received an email from Donna Kerger saying that she's recently joined the Board of Directors of the Valley Children's Museum (VCM) and wanted to discuss the Museum's goals and programs with me. It's been a long time since I've heard anything about the VCM.

I emailed Donna a link to my last commentary on the Valley Children's Museum from 2006 when Dublin Mayor Janet Lockhart announced that the VCM would be coming to Dublin. The estimated time frame back then was two to three years. It's been six years and all that's there is a big trailer with exhibits on Indian life during California's Mission period. This was donated by Mervyns Department Stores shortly after they went out of business.

Donna wrote back, "We're so excited about getting the Tri-Valley involved in this special children's place. I have only been involved for a month but already I'm so happy to be part of this unique museum. We need help making the communities aware that we're 'on the move' and that we need their support. While we're ever so thankful for the continued support from the City of Dublin this is a valley museum and we want to remind people we're here to make a difference."

I headed over to see the trailer at 5 o'clock today. Not 5 am but 5 pm, so the time of day isn't the Dawn referred to in the title of this blog. I went to meet Dawn Benson, another one of the Directors of the VCM. Former Mayor Janet Lockhart is also on the VCM Board of Directors.

I stopped at the mobile VCM building in the parking lot next to a day care building and next to Emerald Glen Park where Dublin's Thursday evening Farmer's Market is held. A sign on the side of the trailer announced, "The Valley Children's Museum will be open the second Saturday of the month in 2012 RAIN OR SHINE 10 am to 2 pm AND during the Dublin Farmers' Market."

I climbed up the stairs and went inside and was greeted by Tom Baker who filled me in on the mobile building and how it was originally operated by the Mervyns Department stores in Southern California. Young Mr. Baker than walked me over to the Valley Children's Museum booth in the Farmers' Market where his father, Steve Baker, was handing out information on the Museum.

The VCM was originally planned to be part of San Ramon's City Center but after new Councilmembers were elected in 2003, they dropped the prior City Councils' City Center plans and the VCM was left without a prospective home.

A few years later Dublin offered to put the Valley Children's Museum into a 30 acre park planned for the Camp Parks development. The Army offered to swap a large portion of vacant land in the middle of Dublin in exchange for construction and renovation in other portions the military base. The land would be turned over to the City for development in six phases.

Mr. Baker didn't know if the 30 acres along Dublin Blvd. where the Valley Children's Museum is planned would be released in phase one or phase six. So the time line to build the new museum is still vague, but at least it appears to be under way.

Dublin held a public scoping meeting on June 20, 2012 to plan for the Camp Parks exchange and Dublin Crossing development. This is where the park with the Valley Children's Museum will be built. Mr. Baker said the Dublin City Council is still behind the project.

Mr. Baker wants to improve the exhibits in the Mobile Museum and make them more hands-on and interactive. By September they want to make the VCM a field-trip destination for 4th grade classes throughout the Tri-Valley. I used to give canning demonstrations to 3rd graders on field trips to Forest Home Farms, so I know how much fun the kids have on these trips.

I did some shopping in the Farmers' Market while waiting for Dawn to take over for Mr. Baker at the booth. This is my first time at the Dublin Farmers' Market. There's a nice mix of fruits, vegetables, and crafts.

There was a very good turnout for the market. Lots of families with young children stopped by the VCM booth and the popcorn of course and the SPCA booth with a small dog and two kittens for adoption.

Politicians and their supporters were making the rounds. Al Phillips stopped to give me a flier. I said I don't live in Dublin, but he's running against Joan Buchanan for State Assembly. I told him great, he has my vote.

Anthony Fox, campaigning for Pete Stark, gave me a Stark button and bumper sticker. I told Mr. Fox I wrote one of my blogs about Chris Pareja's opposition to Eric Swalwell. Fox was very interested in it. I told Fox I interviewed Pareja and Swalwell and wanted to interview Rep. Stark too. Fox said to call Stark's 800 number over and over until I got through. I'll give that a try next week.

Dawn showed up at 6:30 and introduced me to her husband. She's been on the VCM Board for about a year and is very enthusiastic about it.

I haven't seen Dawn Benson since April when I attended two DSRSD meetings. She, I, and Georgean Vonheeder-Leopold ran for Director of Dublin San Ramon Services District (DSRSD) in 2010. Dawn and Georgean won the two seats.

The DSRSD meeting on April 3rd put Dan Scannell's replacement on the November ballot and approved streaming video of Board meetings. Dawn urged me to run for DSRSD again this year, but I'm not sure I want to anymore. Dawn and the other DSRSD Directors have been doing a good job and most of my campaign issues are being implemented.

I started this blog with Donna Kerger's email about joining the VCM Board of Directors. Kerger will be a great director. The VCM Board is made up of representatives from all over the Tri-Valley. They are looking for new members, volunteers, and supporters to increase outreach along with expanding the Museum's hours and goals, which could be interpreted as a new "dawn" for the VCM.

The Mobile VCM is open the second Saturday of the month at 4201B Central Parkway, Dublin, CA 94568and every Thursday from 4 pm to 8 pm at the Dublin Farmers' Market. For more information visit the website or email info@valleychildrensmuseum.org .
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