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FlashJams bring hope and joy through music

A number of local non-profit organizations have banded together in celebration and support of our community during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Carson Valley Community Food Closet, Douglas Center for Hope and Healing, Moxy Up, Suicide Prevention Network, Tahoe Youth & Family Services, and Welcome All Veterans Everywhere want everyone to know that their organizations are open and operating; some groups have adapted their services to offer them virtually, and others continue to work with the community face-to-face while implementing social distancing directives. Most services are free.

Given the current stay-at-home directives, DCHH President Todd Whear said the group of nonprofit organizations wondered how they might best share this information with the public. Whear has been involved in local FlashJams for the past 10 years or so, and the idea came about to share the news through music and to make it mobile. (Traditionally, regional FlashJams have featured area musicians coming together to play at businesses and organizations throughout Douglas County, often outdoors around a burn barrel).

As a way to responsibly spread the word and some joy during this challenging time, the “Flatbed FlashJam for Hope” features “local musicians sponsored by local businesses promoting local non-profits offering critical relief services to the Carson Valley community.”

Each time, different musicians perform on the back of a flatbed truck as it meanders through a Douglas County neighborhood. Several FlashJams have already taken place and with warmer weather on the way, more events are planned. Flatbed FlashJam musicians have included Doug Lubushkin and The Lost Reverends of the High Sierra, Jakota Wass, Monique Haviland, Mo’s Motley Blues, Roland (Haas) Stone, and The White Hats.

“We’ve had the best response,” said Whear. “It’s been wonderful to see the smiles on people’s faces.”

Whear also expressed gratitude for the support of Douglas County Sheriff Dan Coverly and the DCSO for providing motorcycle escorts during each event.

“Their cooperation has been a blessing; we’re excited that the Sheriff’s Office is behind us on this,” he said.

FlashJams are never announced beforehand; part of the appeal is the element of surprise.

“You’ll hear us coming,” said Whear. “The hope is to reach as many major neighborhoods as possible throughout the Carson Valley before stay-at-home restrictions are lifted.”

If you see or hear the FlashJam come through your neighborhood, organizers invite you to step out, wave, dance, and sing along as they pass by while kindly remembering to respect social distancing protocols. Pictures and videos of the event can be uploaded to social media with one or more of the following tags:

#douglascenterforho peandhealing #douglas flashjamofhope #flatbed flashjam #douglasstrong  #flatbedflashjamofhope

Lyrids light up the night sky

A few weeks ago, nighttime sky watchers were treated to the sight of April’s Pink Super Moon. This week brings the Lyrids meteor shower, so named after the constellation Lyra. Lyra represents the lyre, a U-shaped, stringed musical instrument often associated with ancient Greek poets and musicians. The active range of this annual sky show spans more than a week, so even though the Lyrids peaked Tuesday into Wednesday, there are still opportunities to spot a shooting star. At the shower’s peak, the expected viewing rate was between 10-20 meteors per hour with pre-dawn hours slated as the best time to watch. The moon is merely a crescent sliver right now, so its light won’t present much of an obstacle.

Lately, I’ve been taking my daily walk in the evenings. I love watching the stars appear in the darkening sky and was lucky enough to see the silvery streak of a slow-moving meteor last weekend; I hope you get to see one, too.

Amy Roby can be reached at ranchosroundup@hotmail.com.