Summer 2023 Newsletter

Dearest Neighbors,

We hope that you’ve managed to keep cool this summer and enjoy some time with family, friends, and loved ones. You may have noticed that our website has recently gotten a little makeover. Your friendly neighborhood Board is currently in the process of increasing our digital “footprint” with the hope of making it easier to stay up-to-date with what’s happening in our little community. Come here regularly to see what SUN has been up to, how you can get involved, and when our next community events are happening! As part of this makeover, we wanted to revamp our newsletter system, and this is the first post of that series. Here’s a look at what we’ve been up to these last few months and a look at exciting events that are coming up!

Summer began this year with one of our favorite events – the SUN Ice Cream Social on June 25! If you haven’t had a chance yet, take a look at our Photos page to see some of the photos taken at the event. We had live entertainment provided by our infamous SUN Secretary Craig Yeutter and were visited by our District 3 councilmember, Omar Torres. It was a great opportunity to be in community with our neighbors and cool down on a hot day. If you liked this event but have ideas of how to make it better, or for other event ideas in the future, please leave a suggestion.

As is our neighborhood tradition, we also used the Ice Cream Social as an opportunity to recognize the hard work of several volunteers this last year, as well as elect our new neighborhood Board. The following stellar individuals have each contributed in many ways to improve our community. These include the donation of hours of volunteer time to organize and run our events, apply for City grants to make all of our events free and accessible, keep our streets safe, and more!

  • Walter Soellner
  • Sandra Soellner 
  • Deb Hudson
  • Clarice Shephard
  • Craig Yeutter
  • Cristin Thompson
  • Alan Gouig
  • Gio Forcina
  • Anthony Tordillos
  • Sgt. Chris

In addition to recognizing the hard work of the above individuals, we had a chance to elect our new SUN Board. Here is a rundown of our executive officers for the 2023-2024 year. If you see any of us around the neighborhood, stop and say hi! Here is a list of your current executive Board:

  • Gio Forcina (Co-President)
  • Anthony Tordillos (Co-President) 
  • Clarice Shephard (Vice President)
  • Craig Yeutter (Secretary)
  • Cristin Thompson (Treasurer) 
  • Walter Soellner (Immediate Past President)

For folks who don’t know, the Board organizes monthly litter pickups around our community. Volunteers gather the first Saturday of the month at 10am in front of Lowell Elementary. We’re usually around the neighborhood for 2 hours keeping our streets clean! We want to specifically recognize and thank Craig Yeutter for his work at taking point on maintaining all of our supplies and for being our main point of contact for these cleanups. We also thank our District 3 Councilmember Omar Torres, who is a frequent volunteer and helps us get the word out to eager volunteers! 

Our June and July pickups saw the combined removal of about 30 giant bags of trash taken off our streets. Dear neighbor, if you too are passionate about fighting trash goblins, please join us for our next pickup by RSVPing here. Note that our next cleanup will be October 7! We provide everything you need to get started: gloves, trash pickers, bags, and some community! 

This summer also saw our annual Dumpster Day event. This was a great opportunity to do some belated Spring cleaning and throw away old items that are collecting dust. We had folks from the community drop off items all morning and we managed to fill several large dump trucks. We want to specifically recognize the work of two folks, Walter Soellner and Gus Kambeitz, who spent hours going around the neighborhood and hauling illegally dumped items off of our streets and into the garbage trucks. SUN thanks you for your service! 

On a more serious note, many of you may have heard about the tragedy that unfolded in our neighborhood at 10th Street and William in early July. For anyone directly affected by this senseless act of violence, know that your community stands with you. On July 25, we held a community safety meeting with the SJ Youth Empowerment Alliance, SJPD Captain Gina Tibaldi, CM Torres, and Mayor Mahan. This was an opportunity for the community to speak with our City officials and better understand what steps are being taken to ensure events like these don’t happen again in the future. 

Many members of our community were frustrated by the persistence of some of these issues, particularly around 10th Street and William. You can read a summary of the meeting, concerns raised by our community, and potential next steps in this document. We will be revisiting this document at every general meeting moving forward so that we can check in with one another and use our collective voice to make sure the City is providing our community with what it needs to thrive. As a unified neighborhood, we have lots of opportunities to keep our streets safer and more accessible to all of our residents, and this will be a priority for the Board over this next year. 

To wrap up this newsletter, we wanted to end on a couple high notes! August 1st was our annual National Night Out and this year we co-sponsored the event with the SJSU police department. We had a great time with lots of family fun and volunteers from the American Cancer Society and one of our favorite youth-centered organizations, MACLA! Special thanks to Sgt. Chris Zonsius, who had the wonderful idea of partnering for this event.

Finally, you may have noticed that our neighborhood had a little extra spring in its step after our August 5 cleanup. That’s because we had over 100 volunteers come out and pick up litter, remove graffiti, repaint walls, and remove illegal dumping from our streets. This was a major endeavor that was co-hosted by SUN, Mayor Mahan, CM Torres, SJSU (including the entirety of the football team!), BeautifySJ, Caltrans, and SJ Parks and Rec. This was a herculean effort and our neighborhood thanks everyone involved! In addition, we went out and volunteered with SJ Parks and Rec on August 12 to beautify O’Donnell Park. We had about two dozen high school students and families come out and sanitize the park, lay down fresh wood chips, prune our trees, and pick up litter around the park. Just think of what we could do with this many volunteers on a monthly basis!

Photo of the August SUN Pickup with BeautifySJ and SJSU.

In community, 

Your Friendly Neighborhood Board


SUN Shoutouts!

  • On July 15, we had a first in O’Donnell Park– the celebration of two Catholic baptisms for some of our newest little residents Shavil Sofie Kenyel and Keider Laborca!
  • On April 3, our SUN Co-President  Anthony Tordillos was sworn in as Planning Commissioner for District 3
  • On June 11, SUN resident and volunteer extraordinaire Alan Gouig graduated from the New Leaders Council of Silicon Valley
  • On July 14, our local transportation expert Kyle Wong won a 2023 Silicon Valley Bike Summit Award
  • On June 6, SUN was awarded a grant from BeautifySJ to support our neighborhood events for the 2023-2024 year– special thanks to Sandra Soellner and Clarice Shephard for writing the application 
  • On September 17, SUN became home to a second little library thanks to Rotary SV at 9th Street and Margaret


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