Saturday, November 18, 2006

thanks mom for writing!

Even though it was a long and tiring trip for Erica, it was so wonderful to have her & Jaci in San Francisco last month. She blossomed and basked under the love and warmth of family and close friends and almost forgot all about the pain and aches and the endless medications she has to endure everyday. She felt rejuvenated and refreshed with all support and loving care everyone showered upon her, not to mention the fine dining she was subjected to everyday during her five days’ stay. Jaci didn’t do too shabbily either. She was treated three out of her five nights with her favorite dish – West Coast Dungeness crabs…yum!

On Wednesday, at Dana Farber, Erica got her last shot of Asparaginase, the
experimental chemo drug she was on. Jaci bought Dunkin’ Donuts (Kent, you would be proud of her bearing gifts into the Infusion Room for the nurses & staff) to celebrate this auspicious date with everyone. The next phase of her protocol will start in a couple of weeks beginning again with series of three week cycles of chemo/drugs/steroids but of a lesser dosage. This fourth maintenance phase will last through to February 2008, and her physician team has assured her that she will feel much better during this phase and be more her old self again. She is of course skeptical but we’re all positive towards the outlook.

I have been here in Boston now for a week and the weather has been unseasonably warm for this time of year. It did rain a couple of days but otherwise it’s been really nice. Jaci is planning a fabulous Thanksgiving dinner which she will be cooking, with Erica as her sous chef and me as a tablescape doer/planner/whatever. Anyway, that is the job I have been allocated. Gioia, Evelyn and Akshay will grace our table that evening as this will be their first American Thanksgiving. Luke & Denny are leaving today for the bay area where they will spend the holidays with their respective families. Denny so misses his baby Devon & Jacie.

Erica & Jaci both join me in wishing everyone a very happy Thanksgiving and whatever trials and tribulations this past year brought, perhaps there is always that proverbial silver lining hovering somewhere for us to uncover and still be thankful for all the blessings we did receive although perhaps at this point in time, we are unaware of what they may be.
Peace, blessings & love…

Monday, November 13, 2006


Local teen files lawsuit over cancer

A Santa Maria teen is the latest resident in the Sunrise Hills neighborhood to file suit against oil companies for environmental contamination there resulting from years of oil production in the area.

Scott Chenoweth, 18, filed suit Thursday in Santa Barbara County Superior Court against six oil companies, claiming his diagnosis of acute lymphoblastic leukemia was the result of living in a neighborhood contaminated by past oil drilling.

The suit filed Thursday claims that officials with Unocal, Union Oil Company, Chevron, ConocoPhilips, Kerr-McGee, and Anadarko Petroleum Corporation failed to properly decommission the site and that their negligence allowed the contamination of the Sunrise Hills neighborhood, which was built after oil production ceased.

Chenoweth, who was diagnosed in July, has lived at 750 Raintree Drive all of his life, the suit states. A relative said Thursday he was out of town and that the family would have no immediate comment.

The suit asks for general damages, medical expenses, economic losses, the cost of the suit and punitive damages.

Chenoweth, who was featured by the Santa Maria Times in August, graduated from St. Joseph High School and had planned to attend Hancock College's firefighter program this fall. He told the paper at that time his plans were on hold.

Gonzalo Garcia, a spokesman for Chevron, said he could not comment because he had not seen the suit.

The company does not comment on current litigation, he added.

Garcia said he was sorry to hear that the suit had been filed. “Always our preference is to work with the involved homeowners,” Garcia said.

Officials from ConocoPhilips and Kerr-McGee could not be reached.

The Sunrise Hills neighborhood is in the midst of cleanup effort launched by the oil companies to find the contaminated areas and replace them with clean soil.

Throughout the neighborhood the companies are finding and removing sumps, or pits that were dug next to oil wells to collect crude oil, mud, water and other debris during production.

However, the process of testing and locating contamination is long and some residents have resorted to litigation in order to find relief.

Chenoweth's parents, Jeff and Lisa Chenoweth, were among several plaintiffs in a suit filed June 22 with the same law firm of Cotchett, Pitre, Simon & McCarthy against the oil companies.

Along the Chenoweths' street, Chevron purchased and demolished three homes, at 753, 759 and 767 Raintree Drive, in order to clean up the sites.

Other companies also bought and demolished homes in the neighborhood.

In the past, when oil wells were decommissioned, the sumps were either buried or left to dry out, unmarked. That met legal standards at the time, oil company officials have said.

Malia Spencer can be reached at 739-2219 or

Nov. 3, 2006


here is the map. Raintree is right behind our house. our backyards are tangent.