Friday, April 12, 2024

Genoa: An Idyllic Town

Courthouse Museum in Genoa, Nev. © Glenn Franco Simmons.

by Glenn Franco Simmons

Genoa is an idyllic Nevada frontier town known for its stunning beauty that includes breathtaking views of the Sierra Nevada and Carson Valley.

The charming community is also known for its historic legacy and vibrant community. Courthouse Museum is one of the hidden gems just a short distance away from the main highway.

It was a group of intrepid pioneers who, in 1851, founded Genoa, the state of Nevada’s first town.

One sign has "Court House Museum" and this sign has "Courthouse Museum."

Those settlers sought a fresh start in this verdant yet rugged valley. Genoa was once Douglas County’s county seat, partly because of the thriving commerce that it attracted.

While the types of commerce have evolved over nearly two centuries, Genoa remains a vibrant hub of locals and tourists alike. Just visit any day from spring through the first snowfall and you will find it busy with happy people.

Fourteen years after its founding, townspeople erected the original Douglas County courthouse in 1865.

It had to be “rebuilt after the 1910 fire that decimated the town…,” states a Wikipedia page on Genoa, Nev.

This is the other sign. Maybe it's my eyes.

“In 1916, the county seat was moved to Minden and the courthouse was sold to the Douglas County School District for just $15, then was transformed into an elementary school,” according to Wikipedia. “It served for 40 years as a school before it closed in 1956. In 1969 it was reopened as a museum by the Carson Valley Historical Society.”

Much has changed over the years, but I’m sure there are many still in the area and/or alive who remember being schooled in that grand old building.

It’s similar in size to the two-story (with bell steeple) Garfield Elementary School I attended for three years in the rural, forested valley of Freshwater, Calif.

A memorial plaque dedicated to a popular and talented Nevada artist.

That school was built in the 1880s out of old-growth redwood. In the 1970s, the state government mandated seismic standards that meant the destruction of many beautiful structures, many of which were masonry, brick, stucco, etc.

However, Garfield was constructed out of wood. Nevertheless, the state ordered it destroyed. Local construction crews found out that the old-growth lumber in it was sturdy as cement.

So sturdy, in fact, that the school district had to call in the National Guard’s heavy machinery then located in Cutten, Calif., to remove the huge and heavy redwood beams.

So, ever since my lovely wife Kathleen showed me the courthouse, I’ve wanted to photograph it. She grew up here and told me how lovely Genoa was, which we first visited together two decades ago.

Instead of grabbing my pro gear, I find for blog posts, my smartphone works as well as my old 35mm cameras I used at local community weeklies and dailies over my journalistic career.

There was some mining near Genoa, but most of local mining was in The Comstock.

I plan to go back in summer, when the trees have full foliage. On this March day, it was overcast, then sunny, then in-between on a spectacularly beautiful day.

If you travel to Genoa from Carson City, you can take Jacks Valley Road or the highway. I prefer the old road. It is slower, more scenic (closer to the high peaks and deeper into picturesque Jack’s Valley) and takes just about the same amount of time. Depending on traffic, the highway might actually take more time from where I am located.

While I have not yet gone inside the museum (it is closed in winter), I plan to.

“Today it is a museum with many displays that reflect the history and heritage of the area,” according to Wikipedia. 

I cite Wikipedia because finding information about the museum and its displays is not easy. 


Friday, February 23, 2024

Chilipepper's Paintings On Display

(Left to right) 1. "Her Arrangement" by Chilipepper (20x24-inch acrylic painting). 2. "Hello Green Breeze" by Chilipepper (20x24-inch acrylic painting). 3. "Spring Vibes" by Chilipepper (20x24-inch acrylic painting).

by Glenn Franco Simmons

A Northern Nevada painter whose art I saw and enjoyed in Reno is quite prolific and popular and she may be better known by her nickname.

Yasuyo Corbett’s nickname is Chilipepper because “as I am told I can be Spicy,” states Corbett on her website.

“From Lake Tahoe to Tokyo, to New York, Los Angeles, Shanghai and my art has taken me all over the world,” she noted.

Corbett “was born in Osaka, Japan surrounded by all the beauty of the Japanese culture,” according to the website.

Trained in “Kimonos and traditional flower arrangements,” Corbett said on her website, “this is when I first experienced joy in expressing my emotions with colors. “Everything Consists of Love" is the title of the brightly colored painting on the left, as an example of her style.

“I was fortunate to keep art in the forefront of my life, working as a visual merchandiser,” Corbett stated. “I am incredibly pleased that my love of creating and working with color has continued throughout my life and enabled me to experience so many amazing places in the world.”

How to pronounce Yasuyo? “YA SU YO,” but Corbett goes by her nickname, as previously noted, for her business: “Chilipepper’s Paintings.”

Corbett said she found herself in Lake Tahoe because she “met the love of my life, my husband,” according to the website. “I love living in Lake Tahoe.”

The Northern Nevada artist still visits and exhibits in Tokyo twice annually, according to the website.

“I feel extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to grow my art in the United States,” she stated on her website. “I work in acrylic gouache and acrylic paints. I enjoy rich, deep colors and playing with how they can provide an immersive and sometimes playful experience. I hope you enjoy my artwork, a representation of the Japanese experience in the U.S.”

Her art is enjoyed! It sure was a feast for the eyes as I sipped my bubbling Kombucha and Kathleen enjoyed her delicious coffee.

Bear portrait, "Always Be Here For You," by Chilipepper (18x24-inch acrylic painting). 3. Bear portrait, "Coffee For You," by Chilipepper (18x24-inch acrylic painting). 3. Bear portrait, "Old Photograph," by Chilipepper (18x24-inch acrylic painting).

Corbett is also a dog-lover, as evidenced by a well-written article in “Life Hugger.” (Translate to English, if you cannot read Japanese. It is a mostly accurate translation of Japanese to English by automatic Google Translate.)

“… Yasuyo also talked about an episode {she} had with a rescue dog two years ago when {she} was recuperating from an illness,” the article states.

“‘I had to leave the hospital one day after the surgery, and the doctor told me to walk every day, so I walked alone every day holding my stomach,’” she explained to “Life Hugger.”

“‘Then, a rescue dog who lived across the street started walking with me every day. He walked ahead of me, and when I caught up with him, he walked ahead of me again. He did this every day, and before I knew it, I was able to walk long distances.’”

This journey back to health was the inspiration that further lit Yasuyo’s creativity. The painting titled “Happy Bouquet” (right) is an illustration of Chilipepper’s creativity.

Regarding her feelings when drawing a rescue dog, she was quoted in the article as having said, “‘I always draw it thinking about what it would be like if I were living with this dog. For example, if I wanted a snack for me. There is a very clear lake called Lake Tahoe, and I’m imagining playing in the water together there, jumping in, being blown by the wind, etc.’”

To read the full, excellent article and see Corbett’s paintings of dogs, please navigate to the “Life Hugger” article link above.

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Hub Coffee Roasters: River Trail Oasis

Hub Coffee Roasters in Reno, Nev., along Riverside Drive.

by Glenn Franco Simmons

No matter what time of year one walks along Truckee River Walk, there is one place my lovely wife Kathleen and I always want to stop when we are in Reno: Hub Coffee Roasters at 727 Riverside Drive.

Hub’s motto is “We exist to bring people together,” and that is exactly what it does. Just visit Hub for a lively, pleasant experience!

Kathleen and I have only visited the riverside location, but we plan to visit both other locations and look forward to the bike store.

Hub is the perfect place for bicyclists, motorists, strollers and joggers who want a delicious cup of coffee, hot chocolate, sandwich, cold drink or some other item on this roaster’s menu featuring yummy creations.

After you quickly place your order (if the line is long, have no worries because it is one line that moves fast), you can sit comfortably in what is a coffee house and art gallery combined! No kidding! On a spring day in 2023 when Kathleen and I were there, there was beautiful art on display. The seating, while in a small area, is comfortable with access to a quaint and pleasantly clean restroom for your convenience.

Looking back toward the Wingfield Park area from Truckee River Walk roughly across the street from Hub. It is a lovely walk in almost every month of the year.

Hub has Reno roots and there is more than coffee for sale!

“Our founder Mark, along with his two kids, Joey and Jessica, opened the first HUB location in 2009 in a tiny garage in Midtown Reno — with the goal of creating a space that would foster their love of coffee, community and bikes,” states Hub’s “About” section on its website. “While we’ve moved on from that location, it lives on in our cornerstone coffee blend, Thirty-2-Cheney (and of course in our hearts) — and the original goal behind it still informs every blend, location and relationship we build today.

“We’ve since opened up three cafes that have the daily pleasure of welcoming Reno’s coffee lovers, cyclists and community members. There’s our Riverside location with its picturesque Truckee River views — and our Pine Street location in Downtown Reno (which shares a roof with our very own bike shop). Our newest location at Meadowcreek nestled in South Reno across from Reno ICE.”

Saint Thomas Aquinas Cathedral, short walk from Hub.

A coffee shop and bike shop is quite a combination!

Hub said it started with San Franciscan roasters, which, I believe, are made in Carson City!

“Since 2012, HUB has been continuously exploring roasting and profile development techniques,” the website notes. “We started out roasting on San Franciscan roasters, an SF-1 for sample roasting and SF-25 for production batches. We still have those amazing atmospheric roasting systems, but we have added a Loring S7 Nighthawk to our roasting tool belt.”

Hub’s dedication to bringing you the best coffee is grounded in doing what is best for people and environment, according to the website.

“In addition to roasting beans and opening new locations, we’ve spent the last few years fostering deeper relationships within coffee-growing regions,” the website noted. “Mark has partnered with three Colombian coffee farms: Finca las Nubes, las Veraneras, and Purity Coffee.

“Along with the HUB team, Mark travels to origin three to four times a year and continues to learn more about the incredible places where our coffee is grown and the inspiring people who are part of its journey to your cup. We couldn’t be prouder of our founder’s journey — from acclaimed Latino business owner to coincidental translator at-origin to producer himself.”

The closed (at the time this May 2023 photo was taken) Lear Theatre is  a very short walk from Hub Coffee Roasters.

More growth may be forthcoming in Hub’s future.

“HUB is continuously growing, and we love being a part of this awesome community,” the website states. “We’re here to be a meeting place for the creative, the driven, the passionate. Cycle over, stroll on by, and swing in — we’re happy to be your HUB.”

There are also hats, shirts and sweatshirts usually on display that bear the name of Hub. If not, one can order them through Hub’s online store, as well as coffee.

On that spring day, there were beautiful paintings by Yasuyo Corbett.

Yasuyo Corbett’s nickname is Chilipepper because “as I am told I can be Spicy,” states Corbett on her website.

“From Lake Tahoe to Tokyo, to New York, Los Angeles, Shanghai and my art has taken me all over the world,” she noted. 

(Left to right) 1. "Her Arrangement" by Chilipepper (20x24-inch acrylic painting). 2. "Hello Green Breeze" by Chilipepper (20x24-inch acrylic painting). 3. "Spring Vibes" by Chilipepper (20x24-inch acrylic painting).

Corbett “was born in Osaka, Japan surrounded by all the beauty of the Japanese culture,” according to the website.

Trained in “Kimonos and traditional flower arrangements,” Corbett said on her website, “this is when I first experienced joy in expressing my emotions with colors.

"Happy Bouquet" by Chilipepper.

“I was fortunate to keep art in the forefront of my life, working as a visual merchandiser,” Corbett stated. “I am incredibly pleased that my love of creating and working with color has continued throughout my life and enabled me to experience so many amazing places in the world.”

How to pronounce Yasuyo? YA SU YO, but Corbett goes by her nickname, as previously noted, for her business: “Chilipepper’s Paintings.”

Corbett said she found herself in Lake Tahoe because she “met the love of my life, my husband,” according to the website. “I love living in Lake Tahoe.”

The Northern Nevada artist still visits and exhibits in Tokyo twice annually, according to the website.

“I feel extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to grow my art in the United States,” she stated on her website. “I work in acrylic gouache and acrylic paints. I enjoy rich, deep colors and playing with how they can provide an immersive and sometimes playful experience. I hope you enjoy my artwork, a representation of the Japanese experience in the U.S.”

Bear portrait, "Always Be Here For You," by Chilipepper (18x24-inch acrylic painting). 3. Bear portrait, "Coffee For You," by Chilipepper (18x24-inch acrylic painting). 3. Bear portrait, "Old Photograph," by Chilipepper (18x24-inch acrylic painting).

Her art is enjoyed! It sure was a feast for the eyes as I sipped my bubbling Kombucha and Kathleen enjoyed her delicious coffee.

Corbett is also a dog-lover, as evidenced by a well-written article in “Life Hugger.” (Translate to English, if you cannot read Japanese. It is a mostly accurate translation of Japanese to English by automatic Google Translate.)

“… Yasuyo also talked about an episode {she} had with a rescue dog two years ago when {she} was recuperating from an illness,” the article states.

“‘I had to leave the hospital one day after the surgery, and the doctor told me to walk every day, so I walked alone every day holding my stomach, she explained to “Life Hugger.” “Then, a rescue dog who lived across the street started walking with me every day. He walked ahead of me, and when I caught up with him, he walked ahead of me again. He did this every day, and before I knew it, I was able to walk long distances.

This journey back to health was the inspiration that further lit Yasuyo’s creativity.

Regarding her feelings when drawing a rescue dog, she was quoted in the article as having said, “‘I always draw it thinking about what it would be like if I were living with this dog. For example, if I wanted a snack for me. There is a very clear lake called Lake Tahoe, and I’m imagining playing in the water together there, jumping in, being blown by the wind, etc.

To read the full, excellent article and see Corbett’s paintings of dogs, please navigate to the “Life Hugger” article link above.