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Montara man falls, breaks neck
* To make a Monetary Donation Irrespective of any other Benefit *
Please make check or money order payable to:

Maria Nelson
P.O.Box 9
Montara, Calif. 9 4 0 3 7
On the memo line put "To Benefit Alan Nelson"
http://www.alanelson.com

Montara man falls, breaks neck.
A freak fall out of a second-story window has left Montara resident Alan Nelson, 35, partially paralyzed with a fractured neck vertebra. Friends and neighbors are planning a benefit on March 1 to help with medical expenses. Nelson, who has no health insurance, is the brother of local filmmaker and surfer Eric Nelson.
Alan Nelson fell from the second story of his home sometime late Wednesday night, Feb. 5. He was home alone at the time, and hit wood when he fell, said Bonnie Burington, a family friend for 23 years. Burington added that Nelson told his mother he has no idea how the accident happened, only that "he said it felt like a dream, like when you're falling."

A neighbor, Pat Fellman, whose son grew up with Nelson, said she "had a terrible dream" and awoke, shaking, at about 1:30 that morning. Nelson had been at their home earlier that evening, and Fellman said she hurried over to his house, where the lights were on, and knocked. "He's like one of my boys," she said. She said she heard Nelson's voice but "didn't know if he was making a noise in his sleep," and shouted several times, to no avail. She returned home for a flashlight, but her husband suggested she go back to bed, and uneasily, she did.

She added that a couple of other neighbors had similar experiences that night: hearing Nelson's voice but being unable to see anything. Another friend finally found Nelson around 10 the next morning, and took him to Stanford Hospital. He had surgery on his damaged fifth vertebra, and at present is paralyzed from the waist down. He is still at Stanford, though family members are hoping to move him to the care of spinal specialists in San Jose. It is too early to predict the extent of the injury.

Because he has no medical insurance, the neighborhood benefit is intended to help with expenses incurred due to the accident. "A lot of people have been giving support, calling to say they are praying for him," said Burington.


McNevin calls it a career
By Mark Foyer-Half Moon Bay Review

Neil McNevin is not one who likes a fuss or fanfare.

Friday, he made public what only a select handful of people knew. After 32 years of working at Half Moon Bay High School as a teacher, coach and athletic director, McNevin, 57, announced his retirement.

"This seems like the right time to retire," McNevin said. "I was on the fence last year. But now I am ready to leave." Scott Biezad, the girls' soccer coach, is the temporary athletic director until the personnel process for finding a permanent replacement is completed, which is expected later this summer. McNevin's plans are to stay in the Bay Area for at least another year before moving up to the Sierra foothills to be closer to his children and grandchildren. Although his retirement was kept a close secret, it had been in the works for a long time. McNevin emphasized that it has nothing to do with either the sudden departure recently of three-sport coach Kevin Ostenberg or sports budget woes. After discussing it with his wife and deciding it was time, he then informed just two other people - Dr. Barbara Stanley, principal at Half Moon Bay, and Dr. John Bayless, Cabrillo Unified School District superintendent. "I asked them to keep it quiet," McNevin said. The two did just that. McNevin then made his plans known Friday during the year-end staff luncheon. McNevin grew up in San Mateo County and has enjoyed a lifetime of involvement with sports. He spent his youth playing baseball and football. He taught while still a student at Jefferson High School when he got word that there was a part-time teaching position at Aragon High School in San Mateo.

He taught two periods of physical education at Aragon in the morning and would then make the drive over the hill to Half Moon Bay to coach the baseball team. In 1970 he was hired full-time and never left. "The only time before that when I was in Half Moon Bay was to take in the drag strip races," McNevin recalled. Although he began as the baseball coach, he swtiched to coaching football with head coach Jack Coolidge and assistant coach Don Dias. McNevin and Coolidge also coached the wrestling team for a while. As time moved on, McNevin started to get more and more involved with football. "Baseball was my main deal at first," McNevin said. "But I grew to love football." He continued to coach football at either the varsity or frosh-soph ranks until about four years ago. "I miss coaching football the last few years," McNevin said. "But it was enjoyable to watch." Having been at Half Moon Bay for 32 years has produced its share of memories. For McNevin, the fondest one is watching how hard the teams would play no matter who the opponent was. One football game that stands out for McNevin occurred in the late 1970s when Half Moon Bay hosted Jefferson in a homecoming game. That game featured two players who continued playing football after high school, Richard Rogers and Reggie Camp. Camp went on to be a starting defensive lineman for the Cleveland Browns in the 1980s. Rogers played college football at the University of California, Berkeley. He was in on two of the laterals in Cal's 25-20 win over Stanford in the legendary 1982 Big Game.

"Our kids did not know that we were supposed to lose by a lot to Jefferson," McNevin said. "Our kids just went out and played hard." Half Moon Bay went on to win that game, one of the biggest upsets in the history of San Mateo County football. "There were a lot of teams who had a lot of trouble playing at Half Moon Bay, especially during Homecoming Week," McNevin said. While McNevin is satisfied with his decision, it was not an easy one. He received a lot of support over the years from a lot of people. He says he'll miss Stanley. "In my 32 years here, I have never had a principal who has been as supportive of athletics as she was," McNevin said. "She understood the importance of athletics to the students." He'll also carry fond memories of the school's boosters club. "They have never refused my anything that made sense," McNevin said. "I'm not sure what we would have done without the boosters." Then, of course, there were the student-athletes. He isn't just going to miss the ones he coached or watched play. He is going to miss everyone of them, he said. "I am never going to forget those kids," McNevin said. "I can't think of a better place in San Mateo County to teach than right here." Athletics have been his life and he has enjoyed every minute of being around Half Moon Bay athletes. McNevin leaves during a time of uncertainty for school sports on the Coastside, largely involving figuring out where is the money going to come from to continue them.

McNevin hopes that the district continues to fund school athletics.
"My hope is that the Athletic Department is funded in a way that allows student-athletes to compete with others on equal grounds," McNevin said. "It would be a shame if it weren't."

HMB Review Article regarding Andrew Dorfman

Randy Chapin, the principal of Cunha Intermediate School, can't seem to say enough good things about seventh-grade world history teacher Andrew Dorfman, whom he calls one of the treasures of the school. "He's the most phenomenal person," Chapin said. "He's got a photographic memory, he's extremely well-read, he has a huge variety of interests like photography, gardening and technology." Dorfman, who has been teaching at Cunha for 31 years, has map races in his room, edits the school newspaper that comes out every two weeks, and has students lining up at 7 a.m. to get into Club Dorf which meets in his room before school. For all these reasons it is not surprising that Dorfman just became the first teacher to receive the kid-friendly Green Ribbon award. The award is usually given to businesses. Nomination forms are at the high school, Cunha and Sea Crest, a private school.

Dorfman was nominated anonymously.
Dorfman is a very private person, Chapin said. "He's very modest; he doesn't like the limelight." That certainly seems to be true. Dorfman, in an interview via e-mail, took the focus off himself and put it on his students, saying that he delights in spending time with students and their interesting ideas. "Middle school students are far more generous, sensitive and curious than most people know and they have always been wonderful to me." The students return the compliment. "He's awesome!" is how both Tammy Harrison and Jody Kelly, students at Cunha respond when asked about Dorfman. "His classes are sort of hard, but he makes it easy to learn," said Kelly. "He really gets the curriculum into your brain." Dorfman respects his students, said Harrison, and lets his classes run themselves. "You get to decide if you have an essay or multiple choice for the final. Pretty much the class has all the power."

Both girls said that Dorfman's classes are fun and that he makes games out of everything.
"You do map races, and he teaches you random facts and 'stupids of the week' about stupid things and gross facts like how they used to do tattoos." Susan Alvaro, director of the Coastside Collaborative for Children, Youth and Families, said the staff had an argument about who would give out the award, which was presented at a teachers' meeting on March 6. "We all wanted to do it," she said. "That's never happened before." Alvaro, whose son had Dorfman "forever ago," said he is the kind of person students remember. "He's a wonderful teacher," she said. "He demands a lot, but he gives them a lot of respect too." Alvaro thinks it's great that kids who currently have Dorfman appreciate him the way their parents did. "It's one thing when you say a teacher was really great seven or eight years ago.

But that kids now think he's great is remarkable."
It's not only the students who admire Dorfman; his colleagues do too. Science teacher Ben Pittenger said that Dorfman is a wonderful instructor who helps students develop critical-thinking skills. "Andrew is exceptionally good at helping them learn to think on their feet, which is so important nowadays," Pittenger said. Dorfman helps teachers as well as students, said Pittenger. "He's a wonderful resource on anything from computers to being flexible and creative in our approach. You walk into his room and you can tell it's alive with innumerable concepts." Dorfman lives his philosophy, said Pittenger, by being a part of the community and biking to work every day. Pittenger, who teaches the same grade as Dorfman, said that every day, students call him Mr. Dorfman. To him, it's the highest compliment.


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