Crystal Cave main break

8:30 a.m. Monday, Oct. 25 update:

EMERGENCY WATER SITUATION

After 2 main leaks and a power outage last night, our largest storage tank is without water. Please limit water use to emergency indoor purposes until we can pump enough water to recharge the tank.

A crew member stands near the main break on Crystal Cave Circle. Part of the broken pipe is at left.

A water main burst overnight on Crystal Cave Circle. YSPUC crews are on site working on the break. A majority of the park will be affected with low pressure or discolored water.

Restrooms at the pool and clubhouse are available if needed. We will post/send updates via YLP text alerts, website and YLP Facebook page as we receive them.

Thank you for your understanding and patience as our water company crews work to restore water service.

YSPUC is requesting that people stop using any water unless it’s an emergency so that they can build pressure and water levels back up.

 Crews are continuing to work on the repair and there is not yet an estimated time of repair but updates will be provided here, via YLP Alerts and on our YLP Facebook page.

Two backhoes are used to open up the pipeline as quickly as possible for main repairs.

Native plants for YLP: Sages

by Patty Groos (“Poppy Patty”)

#2 in our “5 for YLP” series, Cleveland Sage and its related sages can form key elements of your YLP native garden.  We describe five of our favorites that will be available at our Nov. 14 plant sale.  Named after plant collector Daniel Cleveland, Cleveland Sage is often referred to as the “fragrant” sage — its leaves fill your garden with luscious scent.  As close to completely deerproof as any plant there is.

View Sage photo gallery

Cleveland Sage and its hybrids

Cleveland Sage (Salvia clevelandii) is native to Southern California and northern Baja California, growing in lower elevations of coastal chaparral habitat.  Cleveland Sage and its hybrids (genetic combinations with other native sages) are standout plants in YLP.  Easy to grow and thriving in drought, these Sages enjoy full sun and resent supplemental water after mature.  Watch out, though!  Some of these can get 6’-8’ wide, so leave them lots of room when you plant them.  Different selections bloom at different times, so you can easily have blooms from March through July. 

Allen Chickering Sage (Salvia ‘Allen Chickering’) is a spectacular hybrid of Cleveland Sage and Purple Sage (Salvia leucophylla). The Cleveland Sage part gives this sage its dramatic flowers, while Purple Sage contributes size.  Tolerates almost any soil type.  Deep lavender flowers in late spring, lasting through June, and attracts native bees and butterflies.  Fast growing to 4’-5’ tall and 5-8’ wide.

Pozo Blue Sage (S. Clevelandii ‘Pozo Blue’), with its unusually long flowering stalks, is a magnet for hummingbirds and butterflies!  Same parents as Allen Chickering, but a different selection. This is one of the most adaptable sages, tolerating most soils.  I have planted it in very poor soil on granite slopes, and very shallow soil in flat areas.   Lavender/purple flowers on towering stalks in late spring, lasting through June.  Fast growing to 4’-5’ tall and 5’-8’ wide.

Gracias Sage tumbling down a slope, late April

Gracias Sage (Salvia ‘Gracias’) and Bee’s Bliss Sage (Salvia ‘Bees Bliss’)are workhorse plants for our YLP gardens: easy to grow, fabulous groundcover, great habitat plant.  There is some confusion in the trade about what they are “made” of: definitely our spreading Sonoma Sage (Salvia sonomensis), plus either Cleveland  or Purple Sage (Salvia leucophylla). Gracias and Bee’s Bliss are essentially identical in appearance.  I planted several of each two years ago, thinking the Bee’s Bliss would appear more “draping” than the Gracias, but they look the same.  They grow low and wide, making them an excellent ground cover and habitat plant for barren areas and rocky hillsides. This year, I discovered a clutch of quail eggs hidden within the depths of a mature Gracias Sage growing in the front yard.  This sage tolerates more water than most sages.  In fact, if planted in full sun in YLP,  it will need some supplemental water to flourish during our hot summer months, otherwise it can become summer deciduous or even die back.  Summer watering of native plants should be done as early in the morning as possible, and before temperatures reach 85 degrees.  Purple flowers in early spring are lovely, though not spectacular. Fast growing to 1’ tall x 6’-12’ wide.

Celestial Blue, late May

Celestial Blue Sage (Salvia ‘Celestial Blue’) is a hybrid of Cleveland Sage and Rose Sage (Salvia pachyphylla).  What’s really interesting about this hybrid is that although  Rose Sage, one of our most spectacular sages, is difficult to grow, Celestial Blue is easy.  Very late spring/early blooms are purple/blue on deep pink flowers above silvery leaves, and will take your breath away.  Fast growing to 4’-5’ tall and as wide.

Cleveland Sage Winifred Gilman (Salvia c. ‘Winifred Gilman’) is actually a clone of the Cleveland Sage – a “true” Cleveland selection, and not a hybrid.  Its more compact form and smaller leaves distinguish it from other Cleveland Sages.  Blooming later than most other Cleveland Sage or hybrids, it has deep, long calyxes (tubular bloom) and blooms with intense violet-blue flowers.  3’-5’ tall x 4’-6’ wide.

Native plants for YLP: Deergrass

This is the first in the series 5 for YLP: 5 Easy-To-Grow CA native plants for a waterwise, deer-resistant, wildlife-friendly native garden.  Most of these plants will be available at the November YLP plant sale.

#1 of 5 for YLP: Deergrass

Two years ago, my husband was walking along Yosemite Springs Parkway, and just as he was heading towards N. Revis Way, he saw a plant that he really liked.

“I want to have that in our garden” he told me.  It was a most beautiful large clump of bunch grass, shaped like a spouting fountain.  Its upright, flowered panicles towered above a dense, green tufted base. 

It was growing at the top of a steep driveway near a “Native Plants Live Here” sign.  My husband said he would arrange for me to meet the Native Plants Lady who tended that garden, so I could learn more about it. 

We met shortly after that, and the Native Plants Lady said that it was a Muhlenbergia rigens, commonly known as Deergrass.  I thought to myself, “Why would I want to buy one more plant for the deer to eat?” 

But it turns out that our local deer do not eat it – although they may lay down beside it.  That Deergrass at the top of the driveway was the spark that began my friendship with Leslie Lipton, the Native Plants Lady.

I soon discovered that Deergrass is one of the easiest and fastest California native plants to grow.  On our YLP properties, it is a spectacular accent plant, lines paths beautifully, or can create repetition that moves the eye through the garden.  It’s great on slopes, next to boulders, or in a flat area.  Plant one or three at the street around your address numbers! 

When young, Muhlenbergia rigens tolerates weekly watering during the first summer, matures quickly in just a couple of years, and needs very little supplemental water after that.  The tuft grows 2-3 ft tall and 4 ft wide, with flowering stalks up to 4-5 ft tall.  It is an evergreen grass, meaning that it doesn’t die back in the winter.  Every few years, cut it way back in the winter and then watch it come back even better.  It prefers sun or part shade, and loves to be under our oaks. It has an extensive root system, providing soil stabilization on slopes.

Only one of the seven Deergrass I planted was nibbled by some critter (a bunny?) when it was young and tender, but it’s doing fine now, so it might be wise to cage it during its first spring/summer.  In the wild, it is found in sandy or gravelly soils, but you can grow it in almost any well-draining soil.  It has insignificant flowers in the spring/summer that attract seed-eating birds. 

Deergrass will be available for purchase at the Native Plants Live Here plant sale in YLP on Nov 14.  Whether this is your first native plant, or your 100th, I highly recommend this as a foundational plant for your California native garden.

Have fun in the garden,

Poppy Patty.” Groos

Offices return to pre-pandemic status

Excitement is in the air at YLOA/YSPUC, as we will be returning our operating hours to their pre-pandemic status beginning this Monday, Oct. 4. Office hours going forward will be 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.  

Our dedicated staff appreciates your continued patience and understanding with helping us transition to our “new normal” and we look forward to assisting you.

ALSO: Please attend our Town Hall scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 19 at the Clubhouse to learn about the enhancements we have made for our Customer Service Experience.

Meet YLPer Marie Touitou

Who are YLPers? Why, all of us who call Yosemite Lakes Park our home. We’re more than an HOA, we are a community of people who love where we live!
More than just a place of majestic mountain views, YLP is people — individuals of all backgrounds and interests. In this series of periodic profiles, we hope to introduce you to many of these folks — to YLOA board members, to managers, to employees, to our valued volunteers and notable neighbors who share our 21 square miles of Sierra foothills. We hope you enjoy learning about these YLPers.

This week it’s Marie Touitou, a 20-year YLP resident and community leader extraordinaire. Since moving here from the Bay Area with her husband, Rudy, she has plunged into community affairs, from Ladies of the Lakes, Garden Club, Yosemite Lakes Community Church, and helping to save the water company from financial straits to serving on the Yosemite Lakes Owners’ Association board as director and president, and most recently as the YLOA annual election inspector, member of the Governing Documents and Policies Committee, and chair of the Trails and Recreation Committee. She loves YLP with a passion and shares that with all.

Tell us about where you were born and grew up.

I was born in Seattle and my first home was a cabin in the mountains. It was a one-room cabin. There was my mom, my dad and my older brother, 3, and I was six weeks old when we moved up there. My dad built a two-room extension on it out of logs. So, I actually lived in a log cabin, my first four years.

Marie Touitou

The story goes that we had a such a bad blizzard, it buried the cabin and my dad was in town. I think at the time he worked at Boeing. He came up on the weekends. And so there were three of us. Mom put me and my younger brother on the toboggan. She had to haul us down to the train a mile-and-a-half through this horrible snow. And she said, I’m not living another winter up there. So we moved into Seattle.

So I was potty trained in an outhouse. Our only amenity was my dad ran a water line. We had gravity-fed water from the creek. We had a wood stove. This was south of Stampede Pass. The creek was Green Canyon Creek and it fed into the Green River. Rooster Comb Mountain was above us.

The creek never ran dry. Our refrigerator was a garbage can in the creek with a big rock on top to keep the bears out of it.

After we moved into town, we used it as a summer cabin. So my memories of it, of course, don’t extend back to when I actually lived there but I certainly have many, many memories of the cabin until I was 12.

Tell us about your parents.

My dad was a journalist. During the war he worked for the Seattle physics laboratory. They were part of that project of the atomic bomb down in the South Pacific. My dad did something in the way of Journalism and, and then he went to work for Boeing as a technical writer to write to be able to interpret drawings for the average laborer.

So then he decided he wanted to be a writer and he needed to do something. So he went to work for the post office, so that would save his brain for his writing, but he never did do any writing. He was very, very talented but was never published.

His name was Theo Smid. Smid was my maiden name. It’s Czech. I’m half Czech, yes.

My mom had an interesting background. She’s from an Oregon pioneer family, her great-grandfather I think it was came across the plains in a covered wagon in 1848. The year that the Oregon Trail got opened up along the Columbia River and they settled in Clatsop County Oregon. And there’s a town up there named after him, Gearhart. The family had come across from Germany in 17-something.

Unfortunately, my mom’s mother died when my mom was only 11 years old and she got pneumonia. She was a concert singer. And so then her father married his wife’s friend to raise his two daughters and then he got cancer and died when my mom was 14.

So my mom, she was very precocious. She’s very smart. She graduated from high school early. She went to college. On her own, she got a bachelor’s and a master’s degree. She wanted to get a PhD. She would have been a lawyer. She was studying speech. She was the debate champion for the University of Washington for several years. Yeah, but women weren’t lawyers. So she became a high school teacher.

She taught English and when we moved to California, she started teaching at Berkeley (High) and my dad had an office in the post office. I don’t remember what he did, exactly.

This was the two room log extension my dad built onto the original one room cabin. From left, Mom, me, my older brother Philip, and Dad.

Tell us about your brothers.

I had an older brother, three years older and I have a brother that’s a year younger than me. Well, my older brother passed away. My younger brother is not doing so well, physically. They both were in the service. My older brother was in the Army. He was in Germany in the Berlin airlift time. (My younger brother) was in the Navy. He became a machinist and when he got out, he worked for Alameda Naval Air Station until it was closed. And then, he became a bridge tender for the one of those bridges down in Alameda. He still lives up in San Leandro.

What were your memories as a teen-ager?

We moved to California when I was 12. My dad said he was going to rust. My father was from St. Louis. My mother was born and raised in Seattle. They met in New York City before World War II. They eventually came back out to Seattle and my dad didn’t like the rain. So we moved to California.

We thought we were going to the promised land. I immediately adapted to the heat of California. It is in my bones to like the heat. I now have osteoarthritis and the heat is really good for me.

Well, my parents were not real happy with each other. So we moved around a lot trying to satisfy whatever was going on with my parents. So, I went to two junior highs and three high schools. We first lived in Oakland Hills above Lake Merritt. Then we moved out to Walnut Creek. And then we moved to San Francisco out by the ocean, where you never saw the sun in the summertime, which I didn’t like. I lived there two years, my parents split up and we moved to Berkeley. All this time, my parents still had the same jobs until my father retired. He took a medical leave for whatever reason and he went back to St. Louis and my mom stayed on teaching.

I was 17. And so it was just my mom and my younger brother and me in an apartment in Berkeley. And then we moved to a flat something, a little bigger.

The property was 106 acres. I loved Winnie the Pooh stories with its 100 acre wood.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a dentist because I was blessed with really good hands. I could make things, I could play the piano, I could do anything. I like working with my hands and but my best subject in school was biology. And I like being with people as well. I mean, I wasn’t a recluse and so dentistry seemed to be a good fit for me. Unfortunately, women were not allowed in most dental schools. When I approached my own dentist who was on the staff of the dental school in San Francisco to be my sponsor, he laughed at me. He just laughed at me and he said, you need to be a hygienist. Then you can be a wife and mother. You can’t take the seat of a man who has to support a family.

So I graduated from high school in 1963, went to U.C. Berkeley, and I became the best dental hygienist I could be. Because my parents split up, I had no funds. I couldn’t go on to U.C. San Francisco. I couldn’t afford it. So fortunately, they’d opened up a program in a community college. I got very fortunate because I could afford that. I did really well. I always did well in school and I had a job. I started out at a dollar an hour. I worked in a men’s clothing store.I did live at home, but I had to pay my way through school.

What’s it like to be a hygienist?

Well, a hygienist is basically what people think of, a person who cleans teeth and I was good at that. Okay, but I I also was very fortunate that some of the dentists I work for allowed me a lot of freedom. What we were allowed to do got expanded. I went to school and learned to give shots. I learned to give nitrous oxide and what have you? But I also learned a lot about what the dentist knows except for the actual physical act of doing fillings extractions, and so on. Treatment planning was a big thing for me because it’s integrated with how their gums are as well as the status of the teeth. And so I I did a lot of helping the dentist with treatment planning and trying to convince the patient what they needed. And I really liked teaching the patient home care because that’s the real key to keeping teeth.

How has dentistry changed?

Oh, a tremendous difference, an Improvement (in how people care for their teeth). But not only that, dentistry has improved tremendously. When I started, if you had an abscessed back tooth, it was extracted. There were only root canals for front teeth.

When I retired 20 years ago, it was very rare to see an adult person who had never had their teeth cleaned, whereas in the early years. I saw it all the time. When I started in dentistry, there was no dental insurance, except for the longshoremen in San Francisco. That’s the first dental insurance, and then Teamsters got dental insurance, and eventually, most everybody who worked, and insurance made a big difference in people, taking care of their teeth and being able to afford to go to the dentist.

Rudy at the wheel of my Ford Mustang, which I bought and have owned and driven since 1966.

Tell us about your kids and meeting Rudy

I got married really young and I had two kids. I had my first one right after I passed my state boards. I lived in Fairfield. And so I had two kids and I had a stepson that lived with us for a number of years as well. I eventually got divorced.

My daughter’s my oldest. She started kindergarten and I was a room mother. I was team mother for my son’s soccer teams. I was band parent for my daughter’s band and, and so on, I was always involved like that.

Donna and John are now both in their 50s. She is a mechanical engineer who specializes in heating, ventilation and air conditioning. She is the chief mechanical engineer for a company that makes very large buildings and does all kinds of equipment upgrades for the aerospace and food service industries. She lives in Mission Viejo and works for the Austin Company.

My son is an IT person. I can’t talk to you about it because he speaks a different language from me. He lives in Gilroy and he actually works from home. He works for a medical device company in Sunnyvale. They developed something for Covid testing.

(Rudy Touitou and I) lived in Livermore. We were almost neighbors. We had friends that were neighbors.

So we got married in 1998 and we’ve been married it, you know, 20-something years. My husband had some medical issues and decided since his company was moving, we would have to move for him to stay working there. He didn’t want to be looking for another job, so we ended up retiring and that’s how we ended up here. I felt like I’d come home. Remember, I grew up in a mountain cabin.

I don’t like cities at all. I like the mountains. I like the open spaces. It was a leap of faith for my husband to move here, though. Because he was a city person.

He has three kids and together we have six grandchildren now. The oldest is 23, graduated from college last year and the youngest is an infant.

What brought you both to YLP?

(They took a cross-country RV trip and looked at property in Texas, but Marie didn’t want to leave California) And when we came home, we were telling our family about it and his son said, why don’t you check out Coarsegold? He used to be a driver for Safeway and Von’s in Oakhurst was on his route. And there were friends of his that we had met who had bought a house here for their retirement.

So we went home that day and I looked it up online. First thing I did was I looked to see if Kaiser (Permanente) was here. I discovered we had Kaiser here and so that was good. And so then I looked at real estate online and I’m going, Wow, look at this. My house was on the list. I go, you gotta come and look at this house. Yeah, that’s how it happened. That was on a Saturday and Monday we packed the RV and we came out here and stayed in Oakhurst and looked at houses.

It was a good choice. I can sit at my kitchen table and I can see Shuteye Mountain. I don’t even have to go outside.

So what happened after you moved here?

My neighbor across the street saw that we had hauled up a whole trailer load of potted plants. She knew that I was interested in gardening. So she came over and invited me to church. She invited me to Ladies of the Lakes. She invited me to the Garden Club. And I’ve been involved ever since. She doesn’t live here anymore. It was Clarice Griffin. She’s who I hiked with, I hiked all over this place with Clarice. It was with her that we started the trails committee in the Ladies of the Lakes. Then we turned it over to the association. The trail up on Revis and the trail around the lake were the only trails we had. We tramped around and decided where we wanted trails to be.

Eventually when Michael Neveu became the general manager, he started having maintenance work on the trails around the lake. I think it was around 2006 that the association created a trails committee. And eventually they made it into Trails and Recreation but they started a trails committee and it was when Al Clark was on the board that we got the trail up on the upper loop of the Blue Heron built and that was the extent of what was done until I got on.

We started working on the Stagecoach Trail —  we didn’t call it that at that time —  but the Long Hollow Green Belt when Denis (Ciccarelli) was in charge of the Trails and Recreation committee. Then I got on the board and I took over the trails committee when I got on.

Marie and fellow hikers on the trail in spring.

What do you regard as your biggest accomplishments with YLP?

My biggest accomplishment is the Stagecoach Trail and and Jim’s Loop and what you’ve done on the website with the Trails and Recreation page. I’m very, very pleased with that. I’m hoping to live long enough to see all of our trails connected. And my other biggest accomplishment was, when I was president of the board hiring Jonathan. Yeah, that was a real difficult time, but we were simultaneously looking into outside management as well as hiring our own general manager. We did both of those at the same time. I discovered that our own general manager was a much better fit for our community than getting an outside management company, and I’m very pleased with Jonathan’s work. We have a good plan. I am really pleased that he has tackled this upgrade of our aging infrastructure. It’s not something that can be done overnight. It’s a long-term project.

What do you see your role as moving forward?

 I love it here. I absolutely love it here. I’m blessed with being able to, you know, be able to still think pretty well and I’m organized. And I like to be able to contribute, to help. Solve issues. I have a body of knowledge of what’s happened in the past. And through saving my papers and having them be organized, that I can put my finger on. So like when somebody calls or sends me an email says, do you remember this? I can send it off and say, yeah, I have it.

I really want our park to be not a pristine jewel. I’m not looking into that, but a wonderful place to live. I don’t like disharmony. And when people talk with each other, I try to put out fires. When people are misinformed, I try to do that because generally speaking at least they think that they are doing the right thing, but they may be misguided. Are they misinformed? I’m I hate rumors. Absolutely hate rumors. So once in a while, I try to put down a rumor when I know the actual fact, but I’d like to stay involved. As long as I can. I really would like to but I don’t have a desire to be a boss. I’d much rather just be a facilitator, keep things going smoothly.

The focus has been so much more on membership involvement than what we used to have and getting the information to the people. I just wish more people would vote.

What’s your opinion about the value of volunteering?

Not everybody has it in their heart. But if you have it in your heart, do it. It is so rewarding to volunteer. It comes back to you tenfold yourself. A lot of people think they shouldn’t do any kind of work unless they get paid for it, but I’ve been doing volunteer work since I was a kid, so I it’s part of me. This is kind of what makes the place run, really.

Anything else you’d like to say to fellow YLPers?

Oh, one more thing. I’ve told my doctor that I want to still be hiking when I’m 90. I want to at least be able to walk around the lake when I’m 90 years old. I encourage everybody to get out there and use the trails.

Water restrictions lifted

Emergency water restrictions are lifted.

HOWEVER, we do ask that everyone continue conservation efforts to help prevent a dramatic increase in consumption.

Our repair teams have completed repairs to the Lilley Mountain booster stations and made significant progress on repairing system leaks.

We do still have a backlog of leaks to repair and have extra crews working on those.

PLEASE GO HERE FOR WATER SAVING TIPS

YLPers online: Photographer Robert Groos

Have you ever been mobbed by a boisterous, double dozen of daffy ducks, and a gaggle of geese to boot? It happened to me one morning at Blue Heron Lake. Read a true, and lighthearted elegy to a family of hybrid Mallard and American White Ducks that frequent the lake and park grass around the clubhouse. The story is illustrated by still and video photography showing a duckling breaking out of its shell, an egg tooth, foraging the mudflats, and the unusual feather colors created by hybridization.

Meet YLPer Marty Pol

Who are YLPers? Why, all of us who call Yosemite Lakes Park our home. We’re more than an HOA, we are a community of people who love where we live!
More than just a place of majestic mountain views, YLP is people — individuals of all backgrounds and interests. In this series of periodic profiles, we hope to introduce you to many of these folks — to YLOA board members, to managers, to employees, to our valued volunteers and notable neighbors who share our 21 square miles of Sierra foothills. We hope you enjoy learning about these YLPers.

This week it’s Marty Pol, longtime manager of the Fairway Cafe and wife of chef David Pol. She loves her job, her staff and all the people the cafe serves every day of the week. She’s especially enthused about the cafe’s recent renovation and improvements, and invites everyone to come out and see them and enjoy a mouth-watering meal. You don’t even have to play golf!

Tell us about your life growing up.

Well, I’m local. Yeah, I grew up in O’Neal’s, on the San Joaquin Experimental Range, which is on 41. My dad was in the Forest Service.

So I went to the local school, Spring Valley and Sierra High, and then moved back after we got married, after I had kids.

How did you and Dave meet?

We met at a restaurant in Fresno, called Ruben’s. So we met and got married, had a couple kids and we went back up to the mountain. I have two kids, a 30-year-old daughter who has two children and then my son is 27 and he works for the water company here, Jason.

Marty Pol at one of the tables under the cafe pergola.

So, what did you want to do when you grew up?

I wanted to just grow up and get married and have kids. Then I ended up doing this.

I was in college and was waitressing and enjoyed it, and it just was flexible and good for having a family. So I kept with it. I was a waitress and then a manager at Coco’s. It was kind of like a fancy Denny’s or a Carrow’s, you know.

What do you like about managing the Fairway Cafe?

Well, the hours are good. The flexibility, the people, all that kind of stuff. It’s hard work, yeah, but I don’t mind that.

What do you like the most about it?

You know, interacting with people. And not sitting still all day. I like the movement. I have had some desk jobs and I just couldn’t stand it.

How did you come to the Fairway Café?

I started waitressing when it was a different manager here at the café. I had another job. I was a church secretary. So I worked and me and the other secretary job-shared. So, I worked three days a week there and two days here. So, just to fill in supplement, whatever, and because I had experience, I became manager.

That was in 2000 that I started here. I don’t know how long I was before I became manager, you know, five years maybe . There were maybe two or three managers before I became the manager.

So did you ever want to do something besides the café, like the Blue Heron?

 I fill in down there, but I’d rather work here.

What are some of the memorable moments you’ve had here?

I want to say, my crew is the best crew in the world. There are 12 of us including me.

Have you lost many employees, as other restaurants have during the Covid-19 era?

We lost one employee during the Covid thing. Everyone else came back and he only left because he happened to get you know, a good, great job.

What do you think’s behind the loyalty being shown to you and the cafe?

I don’t know. They’re just great people that work here and we have fun. It’s a fun environment. It’s great hours, you’re off by three o’clock every day. We cover for each other. It’s real flexible. The money is good.

Have there been memorable moments, any crazy incidents?

We’ve had a couple fistfights. Yeah, without alcohol involved. But you know, it’s just kind of the same thing day after day.

We stayed open when it snowed. That was fun. We had a snowman out front and people came and that was kind of good. I have pictures somewhere.

Do you change the menu very often?

There’s a hundred things on there. Yeah. I mean, there’s a lot on the menu, so, you know, we run specials every day and the soup changes and stuff. But yeah, it evolves, things that don’t sell we get rid of, we try new things and stuff. So we have a couple vegetarian options that we used to not have and things like that.

What’s the most popular items? Chicken fried steak and eggs, California omelet, the burgers, the five dollar burger day on Tuesdays, the breakfast burritos all of those we sell a lot of.

When are your busiest days and times?

Tuesdays, Sundays, Saturdays, Friday and today (Labor Day) was super busy because the holidays are good for us.

How’s it different running a café that kind of caters to golfers? Does it make any difference?

I don’t think so. We don’t get a whole lot of business from the golfers. It’s mostly the community. (Golfers) golf and they drink beer and they go home.

There’s been more in the last couple of years. There have been a lot of different golfers. For a long time, it was just the men’s club and nobody else golfed.

So the golf course is getting a lot more business, I believe. And they’ve actually encouraged other people that golf. And so we’ve gotten more business as a result of that as well.

But sometimes we do special things with tournaments and stuff like that.

So what have the recent improvements and renovation meant to you?

It’s been great! It’s been a long time coming and it’s really working out well, so the flow’s a lot better. We have more room to cook, more room to see people. Mainly it’s efficiency and the cooking space.

We increased the cooking space, because they did all that business on four burners, just like at your house for years and years and years. Now it’s six burners and a bigger grill and two fryers.

And the employees love it.

What are some of your hobbies or other interests?

I like to hike. I babysit my grandkids on my two days off. So I’m doing stuff with children and, you know, hang out with friends and stuff .

We like to travel the coast. I’d like to be there right now. We go to Cayucos and Morro Bay. Love it. Nice and quiet and cool.

Anything else you’d like to say?

Just come and see the new place. It’s fun. We’re here. We’ve been open about a month and we’re still getting phone calls: “Oh, we didn’t know you were open.”  

Online booking for YLP golf!

Yes, now you can book your tee times in advance and from the comfort of your home or on your smartphone!

Just GO HERE, do a quick signup, pick your times, pay with credit card, and get ready to hit the links! 

Meet YLPer Doug Dorsey

Who are YLPers? Why, all of us who call Yosemite Lakes Park our home. We’re more than an HOA, we are a community of people who love where we live!
More than just a place of majestic mountain views, YLP is people — individuals of all backgrounds and interests. In this series of periodic profiles, we hope to introduce you to many of these folks — to YLOA board members, to managers, to employees, to our valued volunteers and notable neighbors who share our 21 square miles of Sierra foothills. We hope you enjoy learning about these YLPers.

This week it’s Doug Dorsey, a 21-year YLP resident and current YLOA vice president who is an active volunteer and community booster despite a painful back-injury disability. He’s passionate about keeping up YLP’s amenities and making our neighborhoods better for all.

Tell us about your childhood, where you grew up.

I was born in Castro Valley, California, up in the Bay Area, and then my parents moved us to Fremont when I was one year old and that’s where I grew up. And I went to grammar school, junior high and American High School down the street from the house.

We still have friends that we grew up with. We’ve been friends for 50 years or more that are like family now, but, you know, I think we grew up in the right time where we could go run the neighborhoods and have fun. And you know, “just be back before the street lights come on.” You know, we didn’t have all the worries (they now do) in the East Bay.

Doug Dorsey at the clubhouse.

What did you want to tell us about your family?

There was actually six of us. There was a set of twins first, one passed way at birth, the other one lived three days. Then I have my oldest sister who lives in Fresno now. Then my next sister… she lives in Modesto. And then there was me. And then, there was another one after me, who was three months premature, also who didn’t make it.

When I moved here in 2000, my parents moved to Turlock to be in the middle of us kids, in 2001. So we kind of all migrated east a little bit so we could be close. My mom passed away a year and a half ago. So it’s just my dad.

My dad worked for Stella D’oro Biscuit Company. He delivered cookies to the grocery stores and then my mom when we were little, she worked at the cafeteria, the school that that we went to. And then she went to work for a department store and then she was a seamstress at a drapery manufacturer, in San Leandro. And then they retired.

I started out my career working for Lucky grocery stores in the Bay Area. And then when we moved here, I actually commuted for a year back to the Bay Area to work. And then I quit there and then got a job with Clark Pest Control and their termite division doing construction work.

I graduated from high school in ‘81. I started at the grocery store in my junior year in school, and then I was there for almost 22 years. I was stocking shelves. I was working night crew for 20 of those years. I started off as a bagger and then made checker and then went into night crew and was on night crew for 20 years. I was in charge at night when we went 24 hours.

My wife, Lori, and I went to school together. She was in my sister’s class — my oldest sister’s class, and we also worked together and that’s where we met up. Been together 34 years.

She has a daughter from a previous marriage and then we have our son together, Michael. Our daughter lives now in Georgia, and my son lives with my dad in Turlock and works from home.

When did you come to YLP?

Well, my uncle has 11 acres over by Bass Lake and we were always coming up here for vacations and everything and helping him out on his property and we liked it so much that our son was just getting out of grammar school and in the middle school.

So me and the wife talked and we’re like, okay, if we’re going to move, we’re going to move now because I didn’t want to move my son during his junior high or high school years. And so she quit because she had neck surgery. And she didn’t go back to work after that.

Then while I was working, she came up here and was looking for a place and found here. And I commuted back and forth to the Bay Area. The first year we were here and then that got a little tiresome and then I got a job at Clark Pest Control in Merced.

Then there was about six months that there just wasn’t a job that I wanted to do. So, I left there and went to work for Home Depot down in Fresno on their freight team and then became night supervisor and then, I transferred over to the Madera store when it opened up and ran that at night. And then I left the store and went out to Home Depot’s sister company, driving truck and then I drove truck for seven years.

I got injured in 2009. I hurt my back. There wasn’t an actual day that I got injured. It was just more of a progression over the years because it’s hereditary. My dad has the same issue. My sister has the same issue. So it just finally, like the doctor explained to me, you know, you got a hundred thousand miles warranty on your back, and you put 300,000 miles on it. It just wore out. I have five bad discs, I have degenerative disc syndrome. Yes, I’m a hundred percent disabled.

Tell me about your dog, Georgia.

I’ve had a couple of dogs before Georgia. I’m training her to be my service dog. I’ve always had a dog in my life. Well, our first one was a lab mix when I was probably six, seven years old and then we had another one of her puppies, we kept. And then when those two passed away, I actually got me a golden retriever.

Me and my wife were actually dating at the time. When we lived in Tracy, we had a Weimaraner and then we had two Weimaraners up here. And then now we have Georgia, who is a Belgian Malinois.

I’ve had Georgia three years. We got her when she was 13 weeks old. I’m training her to be a service dog. She will be able to help me further down the road when I’m not going to be able to bend over and pick things up and bring things to me and help me in that manner.

Seems like you do a lot for YLP despite your disability.

Thank you, it’s very painful, but I’m in pain if I sit at home or I’m in pain if I’m out doing things and I’m not the type of person that’s ever been one to sit. So I just do what I can, I try to stay as active as I can, just because I don’t want my situation to control me. I would like to be able to control it. I’ve been more active lately in volunteering and stuff.

Have you always had an interest in YLP and how it was run?

Yes. My wife and my son, actually, both worked for the association for 12 years. My wife was the liaison to the board. And so I kind of stayed out of everything because I didn’t want no conflict of interest. I didn’t want nothing to come back on her, you know, with her job or anything. So once she left the association, I was able to come in and run for the board and help the community. The next election after she left, I ran for the board. I’m going into my third year right now.

My son started off as a dishwasher when he was in high school and then he worked his way up to a bartender and he worked his way through college. He graduated from Fresno State three years ago with a degree in geomatic engineering. He works for an engineering company out of the Bay Area, BKF engineering.

Why did you run for the board?

This last time, there were some things I wanted to see if I could, you know, improve on and change, the pool for one. I just could not understand why we had an amenity that we could only use three months out of the year because it was only open basically when the kids are out of school.

Well, there was a lot of seniors and a lot of adults that use the pool for therapy reasons and, and, you know, that’s their relaxation and stuff.

So I just found out what the process was and found out it was covered under the Trails and Rec Committee. So I started working with Marie and and Jonathan. I bug Jonathan every single day. I met him at the front door and we talked every day about getting the pool open longer and stuff and it finally came to fruition. And so now the least the hot tub is open all year round. The pool is open a couple months longer and longer hours. So I think more people are getting enjoyment out of it.

So, I’m not on the Trails and Rec Committee anymore. I moved on to the Engineering Committee, the ECC Committee, the Golf Committee, keeping busy. I’m vice president now.

What are your priorities?

I really want to focus on the amenities. You know, I don’t think we should ever lose an amenity and I’ll fight as hard as I can to keep every single amenity and keep them up and running. And then just be very wise in how we spend our money, you know, and make the community better for everybody.

How do you stand on some of the issues that have been discussed a lot like the impact of social media and keeping a cap on the dues.

Well, I won’t say I will never raise dues, I’ll work hard at keeping them to the least amount, you know, if we have to raise them. Because as a board member our fiduciary duty is to keep the association up and running.  I mean when the cost of living goes up and gas goes up and everything else goes up. I mean, we can’t run the place on 1970 incomes, you know.

We’ve let things slide in the past and now we’re having to pay the consequences for that in the maintenance of everything, and if we would have just kept our dues increased a little bit each time, we could have maintained all those issues and we wouldn’t be in the position we are in.

So in the social media thing, I think it hurts the association more than it helps the association because once the wrong information gets out there and people react to it, you know, they don’t want to change their mind. They think that’s the correct information. And then it just causes more headache and more work for the employees and the board.

And, you know I think people, if they have a question, come to our board, our meetings and ask the question and get the information directly from us.

Doug with Yosemite High senior Jadyn Carter earlier this year after helping Jadyn finish his senior project, revitalizing YLP’s horseshoe pits next to Blue Heron Lake.

So, how important is volunteering?

I think volunteering for the association is important because we all own it. So you’re only helping yourself, you know what I mean? It just makes me feel good, you know, going back to my days working in the grocery store, stocking the shelves at night. You’d leave the aisle in the morning. It looked perfect. You come in that night. It’s like just destroyed. You start all over.

I volunteered to help build the pizza kitchen. It’s such a good feeling to see that there is something there that’s going to last for years. And everybody in the community gets to enjoy it. It makes you feel good. And the more you can do that for your community, the better everybody is.

This place would be so much happier, and that’s just what we want. Yeah. I mean, we moved up here to God’s country to enjoy it. Let’s not argue about it. Let’s just work together and make it a beautiful place to live.

I’ve always been one just to help anybody who needed help, my whole life, you know If I see somebody who’s broke down on the side of the road, you know, I stop and ask if they need help. I mean, I also helped redo the bar in the clubhouse, I did a senior project with Jadyn Carter. We redid the horseshoe pits. Even volunteering weed whacking around the lake, you know, to help the trail stay open. I volunteer to answer phones to help out in the office since they’ve been so short-handed over the last couple months.

And I made the cornhole boards so we can have an activity here at the clubhouse. I would love to start a league like on Thursday nights and then have like a once-a-month tournament on a Saturday and Sunday, you know, just to get people out and enjoy the outdoors.

What are some of your hobbies and interests?

I make time for fishing. I love going shooting, I go to the range. So yeah, as a matter of fact, Sue Beck, may she rest in peace, had just gotten me into sporting clays over at Sun Mountain Gun Range. Every time we went, we had a blast.

Where do you go fishing?

Bass Lake, Shaver Lake, Blackhawk. My dad just bought a pontoon boat for the family. He just turned 80. So I’m trying to keep him out on the water as much as I can, you know, so he can enjoy what time he has left. Yeah, I grew up fishing with my dad sitting on the bank of the delta in Antioch, freezing our butts off trying to catch stripers.

What would you like to see happen here in the coming years?

Obviously, I guess (improving) the pool. We are starting on the roads project. I think that’s a real big issue. I know that the following year would be the Equestrian Center. We need to bring that up for the safety for the horses and you know, the enjoyment of the riders and stuff like that. I think we should just try to keep beautifying the place and keep it up and running.