There’s something fishy going on at the Japanese Friendship Garden at San Jose’s Kelley Park. Namely, it’s not easy being a baby koi in the beautiful surroundings these days.
The garden has several koi ponds, but the massive Coyote Creek floods that devastated the park in 2017 has led to all the koi being kept in one large pond while the others are restored and a new filtration system installed. That hasn’t been the ideal situation for the young koi, who now have less room to hide and have been snatched up like goldfish crackers by predatory birds over the years.
San Jose Parks Foundation Executive Director James Reber says the solution may be to install an isolation tank, where the young fish can be protected until they’re bigger and aren’t quite a target. The foundation has established a fund to cover the costs of the baby koi tank, as well as other expenses including maintaining portable filtration systems the foundation purchased, assisting with regular pond maintenance and helping to cover the cost of koi food. If you’re interested in helping out, there’s a donation link at www.sanjoseparks.org.
Reber added that San Jose City Council member Maya Esparza, whose district includes Kelley Park, has helped fund the garden’s restoration through her office budget — and even had a staff member create a “Baby Koi” graphic with a cartoon fish wearing a diaper. It’s no Baby Yoda, but it’s pretty cute.
CREATIVE GUIDES: There’s no shortage of artistic individuals in San Jose, a fact borne out by the newest group of Creative Ambassadors tapped by the city’s Office of Cultural Affairs, who will serve a one-year term starting Jan. 1.
The six people, who are charged with engaging residents in finding their own creative voice, are Stephanie Bajaras, a Mexican actor and photographer who recently joined the team at Art Builds Community, a women-led public art planning and consulting firm; digital media artist Ricardo Cortez, who is creating a digital archive of lowrider print material; Dana Harris Seegar, a printmaker and teaching artist who co-founded the School of Visual Philosophy; Eric Hayslett, a multi-instrumentalist musician and music teacher who created afterschool workshops for Bay Area school districts; Amy Hibbs, a visual artist and environmentalist who was a recent recipient of a printmaking residency at the Palo Alto Art Center; and Brandon Luu, a San Jose-born poet who sees poetry as a way to bring people together, regardless of age of class.
Each of them will be working on a creative expression project during the year that leans into their artistic interest.
TRIBUTE TO A NAVY HERO: Adolfo Celaya, who enlisted in the U.S. Navy at 17 and survived the sinking of the USS Indianapolis in 1945, died on Nov. 25 at age 94 in his hometown of Florence, Ariz. Celaya, known to many as “Harpo,” was a longtime resident of San Jose, where he moved in 1966.
In San Jose, he started a heating and air conditioning company and was also a founding member of the Spirit of ’45 committee, which started a nationwide movement to celebrate the Greatest Generation and the end of World War II.
The Indianapolis was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine and sank within minutes with hundreds of sailors left in shark-infested waters for five days. Celaya, just one of a handful of survivors left, received the Congressional Gold Medal last year and had a post office in Florence dedicated in his honor. His funeral was held Dec. 17 in Arizona.
NEW FACE AT CITY YEAR: It doesn’t sound like City Year San Jose/Silicon Valley’s new executive director will have any problems being a team player, as that’s something Kevin Bradshaw is very familiar with. Bradshaw played basketball in college, followed by an 11-year professional career in Israel that turned into a coaching stint after his playing days ended. He set a few records along the way, once scoring 101 points in a pro game and 72 points in an NCAA game.
Most recently, Bradshaw was executive director of Bridge Academy International School in San Diego, and City Year Board Chair Charlie Pappis said, “His leadership, focus on students, and track record in education coupled with his personal life experiences has me excited about the future of City Year San José/Silicon Valley.”
LIGHTS OUT: With a concern for potential spread of the COVID-19 omicron variant, History San Jose has decided to call off the final weekend of its Heritage Holiday Light Show at History Park, which was to take place Jan. 1-2. That means this Sunday, Dec. 26, is the last chance to catch the delightful event. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for kids, and you can check out the schedule at www.historysanjose.org.