Angwin is a community of about 3000 residents on Howell Mountain. We are in a coastal range of northern California, about 70 mi. north of San Francisco.
The Village ranges from 1600 to 2200 ft. elevation, overlooking the scenic Napa Valley. It is surrounded by vineyards and forests.
Many Angwin residents work for Pacific Union College, a liberal arts college with a national reputation, or the nearby St. Helena Hospital.
The story is in the statistics
A few weeks ago, we introduced viewers to our two new advertisers. But we didn't provide much information about them, so here it is. Just look at these numbers.
Angwin Dental..39 years, 10,000 patients
Dr. Robert Williams pioneered dental service in Angwin. He opened his office here 39 years ago. Since then he has served more then 10,000 patients. Tally those two figures and they spell one word...Experience. And a lot of Angwin people to whom he gave healthier teeth and brighter smiles. The other person on the Angwin team is Dr. Susan Fjarli, who came aboard in 2003, after serving as president of the Multnomah Dental Society and clinical professor at Oregon Health Sciences University. Another cheerful, competent person. Dr. Williams opened a Napa office in 1985, which his son, Dr. Jeff Williams, took over 10 years ago. Building a family tradition.
Advanced Instruments..best of the bunch
Angwin old timers, and some not so old, travel to Napa where Geoffrey Calkins and Elizabeth Gilson listen to our hearing problems and get us listening better. They face challenges and find solutions. In 2010, the independent "Bay Area Consumers' Checkbook" took a survey of 45 hearing aid centers throughout the Bay Area. Advanced Instruments hit the top of the list in six categories. Look at these scores:
|Promptness of service
Quality of products
Variety of products
Ease of testing products
What can we exclaim about these two professional offices which have racked up years of service and statistics like these?
Something like "Wow!" comes to mind.
Feb 26, 2013
" ...Except the certain Spring"
We know it's winter in Angwin when the first rains come, after months of cloudless skies. When the hillsides turn green, when the first snows fall in the high Sierra and the kids clamor to go skiing, when the snow geese from the Far North descend on the rice fields, when the Pacific storms throw 20-foot swells against the Sonoma coast, when our neighbor lady covers her favorite plants against a freeze, and you have to push the cat out the door in the morning.
But even on our shortest days, we knew that Springtime would be a-coming.
Today, the yellow mustard is blooming in the leafless vineyards, and early flowers are dabs of color all around town. Daffodils, violets, and quince. The smell of daphne is in the air. Everybody's acacia trees are blooming. Soon the bay, the camphor, the odd loquat, the almond, the plum, and the manzanita. Tomorrow . .. well, maybe a freezing spell, a week of rain, or a snowfall on the cherry blooms. Mother Nature saying, "Hey, don't get in too big a hurry, down there."
But today, Angwin is a splatter of Springtime colors against a blue sky. And the prediction of the poet comes true:
"They shall return... the leaf and the flower.
Nothing is certain. Except the certain Spring."
Measure U defeated at polls
PUC spent $472,707 for campaign against initiative
Pacific Union College spent $472,707, according to official reports required by the State, to defeat Measure U. Save Rural Angwin spent $109,988 to promote it.
The college outspent SRA 4.3 to 1. That is equivalent to SRA putting an 11-man football team onto the field to contest 47 opponents.
The college's campaign drew approximately 30,000 votes, but at a cost of $15.66 per vote. SRA's smaller but more efficient campaign drew approximately 20,000 votes at a cost of $5.50 per vote.
The overwhelming number of votes came from Napa City and American Canyon, most of whose residents, 25 to 40 miles away, have never been to Angwin.
St. Helena voters, who are more familiar with the Angwin issues, supported the initiative. Measure U failed in Angwin, faced down by the votes of residents who work for PUC. Plus the unknown number of students who voted. A majority of the other village voters supported the initiative. A community clearly divided.
Measure U was intended to change the zoning on two Pacific Union College parcels. One would prevent the extension of the commercial Angwin Plaza into the green fields across Howell Mountain Road from the campus. The initiative would preserve the present use of that land as now, in agriculture and open space.
The other parcel just north of the core campus has been earmarked for "Urban Residential" development for several decades. The initiative sought to change that to "Institutional" which would have allowed the college to use it for any future educational facilities, including faculty and student housing, but it could not be sold to an outside entrepreneur for other commercial or residential subdivision.
The PUC campaign attacked the Measure U intentions head-on. To the initiative's intention of preserving agricultural land in Angwin as it is elsewhere in Napa County the college asserted flatly that "Measure U does not preserve agricultural land in Napa County. " To the measure's intention of protecting the rural nature of Angwin, the college asserted flatly that it has no plans for development on the table.
The college also tapped into the property rights issue, a significant consideration in Napa County land use debates.
Failure of the initiative does not lay to rest the ultimate destiny of the two PUC parcels it addressed. Those decisions will now fall on the desk of the County Board of Supervisors. However, that battle will not be scheduled until the County has resolved the big Napa Pipe project south of Napa City. That may be months away.
Measure U lost its appeal to preserve this area from development. PUC's future plan envisions moving the Angwin Plaza the length of two football fields into this green field.
Annual Angwin Bird Count
135 Species, 30,000 Individuals
Red-breasted Nuthatch loves Howell Mtn.
They still call it the Angwin Christmas Bird Count, but now it is held on New Year's Day, and the count area stretches from Pope Valley in the east to Lake Hennessey in the south. This year the weather was fair, and the participants came from afar to join in the fun. Angwinites Lorne Glaim, David and Wayne Tillay, and Myron Widmer formed the Angwin contingent. They found themselves in the company of 53 other birders from Napa to San Francisco, binoculars at the ready.
Together, they spotted and identified 30,000 of the winged creatures. The diversity of the count area habitat provides the sighting of numerous species, 135 of them this year.
Some of the highlights:
The 74 Red-tailed Hawks ID'ed exceeded all other raptors combined.
13,583 robins were sighted aloft, but surprisingly only two each of the Merlin and Peregrine were spotted.
The Burrowing Owl of Pope Valley reappeared this year. So did the Red-naped Sapsucker at Lake Hennessey. And the berry-eating Phainopepla returned for a second winter.
Blanket coverage of Howell Mountain produced a record sighting of 38 Red-breasted Nuthatch, compared with a total of six elsewhere.
Red Crossbills appeared at Las Posadas and the Friesen Lakes for the first time since 1992. That was exciting to the Angwin guys.
David Tillay, retired PUC professor, is the veteran of the local group, with 42 years as a participant in the Angwin area bird count. His personal list shows 690 species here and elsewhere in the U. S. Myron Widmer has racked up 16 years in the bird count, rain or shine.
Finally, some good news
Real estate sales way up in Angwin
Angwin Sales in 2012
221 Sky Oaks
360 Sky Oaks
417 College Ave
465 Sky Oaks
529 La Tierra
430 Howell Mtn.
360 Sky Oaks
1400 Deer Park
270 Cold Springs
371 Quail Run
610 Whte. Cottage
1275 Summit Lke
Properties for Sale
There are few personal financial subjects of more interest to Angwin homeowners than the value of their property. Their largest asset.
The stock market has recovered dramatically from the Great Recession, rising from a Dow Jones Index low of about 7,000 at the bottom to more than 14,000 recently. For stockholders, the Recession is a thing of the past.
X X X
Real estate is taking many months longer to recover, but it is happening finally. Angwin saw a dramatic increase in sales, to 29 properties, in 2012. That was over our historic average of 27 sales per year, The number of low-end properties was far greater than normal, however. Twenty-two of the 29 properties closed for under $500,000.
The list of 2012 sales is at the top right column.
Angwin's real estate story is always unique. The headlines for the national real estate market do not tell our story. Neither do those for California. And we're even different from St. Helena, only eight miles down the hill. In the last quarter of 2012, for example, the average price of properties sold there was $1.3 million. In Angwin, the average price was $440,000. We have some mansions and a good number of moderate houses, but an exceptional number of older houses.
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Angwin's real estate recession was particularly serious. During the past 24-year period, we have seen sales as high as 49 (back in1988) but our recession ran for six years (2006 to 2011), with sales floundering at 11, 10, 12, 1l and l3 per year during that period.
X X X
So what is on the market today? The "For Sale" inventory in Angwin offers 15 properties, with asking prices ranging from a low of $150,000 to a high of $7,900,000. Only three are under $500,000, which varies inexplicably with 22 of the 29 sales last year going for under $500,000. Our inventory story is far different from other Bay Area communities in demand, also. In San Francisco, for example, sellers are seeing sales within just two weeks on the market. In Angwin, current listings are looking at about six months on the market.
See the For Sale list at the bottom right. The upshot of this - the bust, our long time in the recovery basement, and our 2012 sudden breakout, is not explainable. And Angwin in 2013 remains a guessing game. Anyone can play.