San Francisco Zoo giraffe helps pick name for towering Lego replica

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Sarah, a reticulated giraffe at the San Francisco Zoo, had a hand — well, really a mouth — in choosing the name, “Millie,” for a 20-foot-high giraffe made out of Lego bricks at Legoland Discovery Center Bay Area at the Great Mall.

On Monday — which was World Giraffe Day — Sarah had her choice of five bananas with a different finalist name — “Leggy,” “Spot,” “Bricky,” “Millie” and “Floyd” — etched into each and placed into a giant Lego brick. Millie must have looked the most appetizing to Sarah, as she chose that one to bite on and the remaining bananas were offered to other giraffes at the zoo.

Hundreds of potential names were submitted for the giant giraffe, which was built with more than 20,000 bricks and was installed a week after the new venue opened its doors to the public. Millie, of course, nicely pays homage to the city of Milpitas.

One thing Millie has going for her is that nobody hates giraffes — which makes the statue already less controversial than either the Fallon of Quetzalcoatl statues in San Jose.

Carl Salas, third from left, leads a group of kayakers on the Guadalupe River on Saturday, June 19, 2021. (Photo courtesy of Andrew Winnings) 

GUADALUPE FLOATILLA: San Jose resident Carl Salas continues to make a strong case for building a kayak dock on the banks of the Guadalupe River through downtown. Salas, who regularly kayaks on the waterway, took three other people — Ashley Hopkins-Pass, Christi Moyer, and Kathy Cote — on the river last Saturday.

“I’m going to suggest that in the modern history of San Jose, there have never been four kayaks on the Guadalupe River at the same time,” Salas said. “It was a sheer delight for me, as as well as a eye opener for them.” And by eye opening, Salas means in both a positive and negative sense, from the clarity of the water and the beauty of the riparian area to the encampments visible on the trip and the amount of garbage along the banks.

Unlike my equally eye-opening trip with Salas about a year ago, the water level was too low for the group to travel very far south. Another reason to dislike this drought.

WRITING’S ON THE WALK: Usually the art’s inside the Triton Museum in Santa Clara, but this weekend some of the art will be on the sidewalk. The museum’s first outdoor Chalk Art Festival will take place June 26-27 in the sculpture garden directly behind the Triton’s building.

Visitors can watch 16 artists create their work, and kids (or grown-ups) can also try their hand at creating sidewalk art with supplies provided at the Triton’s art activity station. Of course, you can also check out the art inside the museum, where the chalk artists also will have work on display at a pop-up art sale to benefit the Triton’s exhibition and education programs. The event runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day, and you can get more information at www.tritonmuseum.org.

FAREWELL TO THE MAESTRO: The San Jose Wind Symphony is mourning the loss of Darrell Johnston, its founding conductor, who died May 25 at age 90 in Monterey. Johnston started teaching music after leaving the U.S. Army in the mid-1950s and was recruited by San Jose City College to be a music professor and director of bands, a posting that lasted from 1958 to 1993.

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Colorful mural adds pop to Guadalupe River visitor center San Jose neighborhood’s shady trees off the chopping block Take an augmented reality tour of San Jose’s Japantown Carl Guardino resumes his role as Silicon Valley’s ‘Running Man’ Will tickets to Bad Bunny or Harry Styles get young South Bay people vaccinated? During his first year at San Jose City College, he founded what was then known as the San Jose Symphonic Band, an ensemble that he would lead for 44 years until his retirement in 2004. In a remembrance on the San Jose Wind Symphony website (www.sjws.org), board president Caroline McIntyre said, “Darrell was a wonderful man who inspired students and adult musicians with his musicianship and kindness.”

The Johnston family suggests donations be made to the San Jose Wind Symphony in his honor.

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