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Grandma Moses and Maven and good bye to some bird doggers

Kurt Hildebrand, Assistant Managing Editor

The first thing Jean Reynolds drew during a computer class was a front and side view of a face.

“I thought, ‘Shoot, this is fun,'” said the 81-year-old Carson City resident. “That’s why I focused on art, it’s all I do now.”

Jean’s daughter, C.J. Ojanpera, calls her mom a regular Grandma Moses.

“Her pictures blow me away,” C.J. said. “She’s a real inspiration.”

The class, sponsored by SeniorNet, provided Jean with a computer, though she had to buy her own software. She settled on Corel Paint Classic.

“They got some used ones from Washoe County and gave them to us,” she said. “I always liked to draw, but I never took to paints because I didn’t like the mess.”

While others were filling in templates and tracing, Jean was creating original work, using her computer screen as a canvass and the mouse as a brush.

“I like to do my own stuff,” she said. “I don’t feel like I’m doing anything if I get something that anybody could do.”

She has been prolific in the months since she graduated from the computer class, printing out her work or e-mailing it to relatives.

“It beats staring at four walls or sitting in front of the boob tube all day,” she said. “I don’t even turn the TV on anymore. Once I finish my chores, I just sit down in front of the computer.”

When she’s not drawing she plays Scrabble against the machine.

The computer’s name is Maven, and I’ve been watching how he plays,” she said. “Now, I beat him 9 games out of 10. Eight of the high scores on there are mine.”

Jean has lived in the senior apartments on California Street for more than 18 years, the longest she remembers living in any one place in her life.

“My dad worked for Union Carbide and my husband was in then Air Corps for 10 years before he went to work in construction,” she said. “I have a list of the places I remember living. But I’m going to stay here until the day I die.

I like it here and I don’t want to move again.”

Besides C.J., who lives in Gardnerville, Jean’s son, Doug Reynolds, lives in Carson and manages the Upstage Center.

I was flipping channels Thursday night when I came across Virginia City resident Joe Curtis talking about the Comstock Lode. Thinking it was a Nevada Experience, I was surprised to see a woman hawking silver belly chains in the next shot.

The interview was part of QVC’s celebration of the discovery of the Comstock Lode. Which is nice, except the QVC Web site lists the discovery date as March 1, 1873, a good 14 years after the discovery of the Lode. They also interviewed the owner of the Chollar Mine, who took viewers on a tour.

A couple of the folks at Citizen Alert are saying their good-byes. Executive Director Kaitlin Backlund has turned in her guns and they are looking for someone new to run the shop. Kaitlin, who grew up in Genoa, is vacationing in Hawaii. Also leaving the organization that has bird-dogged the federal government’s effort to dump nuclear waste in Nevada is Celia Sue Hecht.

Celia said she feels its time to look for solutions to the issues Citizen Alert has illuminated over the past years.

Kurt Hildebrand is assistant managing editor at the Nevada Appeal. Call him at 881-1215 or e-mail him at Kurt@tahoe.com