Sunday, June 27, 2010

Cynthia Parkhill is Toastmasters club president

By guest writer Sharon Shute

Cynthia Parkhill with Toastmasters member badge
FINLEY – Cynthia Parkhill has been named the new president for Toastmasters Club No. 8731, Tenacious Talkers.

Parkhill has been a member of Toastmasters International and the club since January 2008.

Starting Thursday, July 1, Parkhill will be club president for 2010-11.

Parkhill has earned Competent Communicator and Advanced Leader Bronze. She also served as vice president of public relation for two terms.

She writes a weekly column in the Lake County Record-Bee and has a weekly segment on a local radio station, KPFZ 88.1 FM.

Tenacious Talkers meets at 6:15 p.m. each Thursday at 2150 Argonaut Road in Finley. For more information about the club, call 707-263-5350 or visit

Sharon Shute is vice president of public relations for the Tenacious Talkers.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

‘What happens in group, stays in group’

Alcoholics Anonymous is reminding friends in the media to observe its longstanding tradition of anonymity for its members. I’d like to suggest, as delicately as possible, that 12-step clients must also remember that “What happens in group, stays in group.”

Monday, June 14, 2010

Humans are poor readers of cats

The Harbin Hot Springs office has a small bookstore that stocks a new book by Temple Grandin: Animals Make Us Human. She’s one of my favorite writers because of her ability to articulate her perspective as a person who is on the autism spectrum. Jonathan bought a copy of her new book for me.

Temple devotes a chapter to cats and I have to disagree with her statement that cats do not have very expressive faces. Other people have said as well that cats do not smile but when Elizabeth curls up next to me, the expression on her face is very clearly a smile. She is very expressive.

Elizabeth does not show her teeth when she smiles; that’s a display of aggression  There’s something disturbing and even grotesque about superimposing human mouths with their bared-teeth smiles onto the image of a cat and dog. I’ve seen a picture like this, I think, at a local dentist’s office.

Maybe it would be more accurate to say that humans are poor readers of cats. When I wrote my short story called “Monkey’s Christmas Tree,” I had him articulate the perspective that his swishing tail was a very obvious sign of his no longer wanting to be petted. But the human antagonist didn’t pick up on the signals he was producing so he had to swat at her with his paw.

Transcribed from a personal journal

Friday, June 11, 2010

Calistoga teachers should promote Poetry Out Loud

I am writing to encourage Calistoga educators to participate in Poetry Out Loud. As a graduate of Calistoga Junior/Senior High School, I would like to see this opportunity made available to CHS students today.

Logo: Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest
Poetry Out Loud encourages high school students to memorize and perform great poetry. It begins with classroom competitions and the winners advance to school-wide, state and then to national finals.

This spring, I observed the Poetry Out Loud competition in the County of Lake. Three very talented young people competed for the responsibility of representing Lake County in the state competition. The students’ performances were very diverse and showcased the very different styles of poetry that are available through Poetry Out Loud.

I was disappointed to learn that my hometown school was not represented this February in the Napa County competition. I would have loved to have an opportunity like this when I attended CHS.

Kate Demarest with Arts Council Napa Valley has just sent word to arts supporters that Poetry Out Loud launches again in the 2010-2011 school year: “School competitions will take place in the fall, the Napa County finals early in the new year and the California State finals in February.

“If you would like more information on the Poetry Out Loud program please visit the California Arts Council at where you will find links to both the California and National competition.”

Calistoga educators who would like to participate are invited to contact Kate Demarest with the Arts Council Napa Valley at Teachers’ guides and other tools are available at

Published June 17, 2010 in the Weekly Calistogan
and June 18, 2010 in the Calistoga Tribune

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A&E section is finalist in Better Newspapers Contest

The Arts & Entertainment section that appears each Thursday in the Lake County Record-Bee has earned a "finalist" mention from the California Newspaper Publishers Association in its 2009 Better Newspapers Contest.

The A&E section is produced each week by Cynthia Parkhill, former editor of ArtNotes.

A&E sections that were originally published Oct. 9 and 16, 2008, were submitted to CNPA in the daily newspaper category with a circulation of 10,000 or less. The Record-Bee's entry was among the top 10 percent in its division, which advanced to final judging by a Blue Ribbon committee.

Submitted June 9, 2010 to ArtNotes,
quarterly members' newsletter of the Lake County Arts Council

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Is your PR under a conspiracy of silence?

There are many events taking place in our community that organizers keep to themselves. The unfortunate consequence of such a decision is that the newspaper tends to get the blame when an event does not see print.