(707) 431-5100
(707) 431-5100

News Notes 1990-1999


Shannon Barnett Galleher – Tom and I have been married almost 8 years now. We have two boys, Sam (6) and Hank (4) that we home school. Tom is Superintendent of Mountain Valley School District. I stay at home to home school and develop our farm. I substitute one day a week. My parents live only a mile away, and so can watch the boys that day. We currently have cats, chickens, a dog, and 2 horses. We have an orchard, a garden, and are working on greenhouse, cross-fencing (for goats) and irrigation. Hopefully in a few years we’ll be selling our produce at the local farmer’s market. We live in Hayfork, which is where I grew up. We feel very fortunate to be living here and raising our family in the mountains. Look forward to seeing everyone for our 20th reunion in April. (1/10)

Yemeseratch Girma – I have a confession… in my garage I found a Rio cafeteria tray. Yep an original tray, with the 1962 Rio seal and all. Though I don’t remember, I must have taken it as my departing gift from the cafeteria :). As much as we all complained about the café food, some of the most memorable times were in the cafe; Saturday morning trench coat breakfast with the girls, all the fancy banquets, occasional food fights, 8 hrs of free labor with Cris (courtesy of Mrs. Pride) and washing dishes with Bert (water fights) stand out for me. This past May, my world turned upside down when my home was damaged by fire. Praise God that my family and I escaped unharmed but we have been displaced ever since. In the days following the fire, all salvageable and non salvageable items were removed from our home. The only items that were not damaged and accessible were items in my garage. One Sunday morning, while looking for kitchen items for our Hotel Suite, I came across the Rio tray, stunned I hugged it, as memories flooded my mind. Finding a piece of Rio in my garage took me to a special place in time. Although I don’t under any circumstance condone stealing, finding the tray brought me comfort when I needed it most. As for the fire, it has thought me so many life lessons; a great deal of time is spent on attaining things which are ultimately meaningless – value spiritual things. Regardless of our circumstance we can choose to live our best life today… a God surrendered life, one day at a time. Call out to God, He has, He is and He will give you peace in the midst of your storm… fire, infirmity, death whatever the hardship maybe, we serve a God who is truly able to see us through!!!!! Whatever you do make certain that Heaven is your final destination! God bless you, Yemeseratch
(Posted September 2011)

Melissa (Gregory) Pipich – Hi all! Another crazy-busy year gone, another one to come. I’ve been back in Napa for 3 years now and am SO happy to be home. My husband Jeff was injured on the job in late 2008, making 2009 a pretty tough year for us, but God has been good and we’re finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. The power of prayer is an amazing thing! Our daughter Janelle is a junior this year at Napa High and our son Jake is in the fourth grade. In January of 2009 I joined the Harlen Miller Chorale (formerly the Norman Skeels Chorale) and am thoroughly enjoying singing under Mr. Miller’s awesome direction, just like I did 20 years ago! I’m on Facebook, so look me up if you want to stay in touch. You’ll find me under “Melissa Gregory-Pipich. God Bless! (1/10)


Join the class of 1991 on facebook!

Sarah (Epperson) Golightly Edwards – I married Graham Devlin Edwards on December 12th, 2009 at the Four Seasons Bora Bora in Tahiti. In addition to my 20 year old son, Justin Ryan Cooper, I now has an adorable 9 year old step-daughter named Isabel. I live in the town of Sonoma and works in Mill Valley, California. I am the CEO and Co-Founder of GoLightly, Inc. I provides strategic leadership as well as spearheads product design for GoLightly, Inc. An accomplished visual artist and technologist with more than 15 years of experience designing enterprise web applications, I am passionate about making the web more usable and beautiful. Prior to co-founding GoLightly, I did design, branding, and web site development for major corporations including Toyota, Lexus, and Blue Cross of California. GoLightly, Inc. is the leader in providing effective and easy-to-use social networking solutions for nonprofits and membership associations worldwide. www.golightly.com (2/11)

Jennifer Frost, Class of 1991 with her dog, Strykor.

Jennifer Colleen Frost -I am now a career Park Ranger with the Bureau of Land Management at Canyons of the Ancients National Monument in southwest Colorado. Among other duties, Iam charged with obtaining Dark-sky Sanctuary status for the park and its headquarters at the Anasazi Heritage Center. I also provide astronomy and education programs, have been providing outreach to the local communities and schools, and have been developing a field school with emphasis in biology and archaeology studies for grades K-12 and a citizen science program. In my spare time, I volunteer and am commissioned with the Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office as part of United Search & Rescue (I am a Search and Rescue Technician III with certification to serve as crew on Flight for Life) and with the Mesa Verde Trailblazers Pathfinder club. I also hold a ham radio technician license (call: KE0PMM) and am a certified NWS/NOAA SKYWARN Storm Spotter.

’91 Maria (Prokop) Lewis – I didn’t actually spend my graduating year at Rio but I did spend my sophomore and junior there. I just read Sarah Epperson’s post along with Yeme’s (class of 90) and thought how cool to read how they were doing! I live in Alaska now with my husband and two children. I graduated from UC Davis in engineering and worked for 10 years after graduation. Now I’m a stay-at-home mom and generally love it, especially pajama days! Rio was a lot of fun.

Jeffery Reed – This year my military unit journeyed to multiple nations; Cameroon, Africa – Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and France. God truly created a beautiful world. I found great joy in seeing new cultures and civilizations. I hope others who leave Rio will be blessed as I am to have live in Italy or another foreign country. Most of all I have a powerful support unit, my wife and two amazing girls. My prayers to all who pass through the gates of Rio Lindo Academy. SGT Jeffery S. Reed (Updated January, 2015)


Ray Austin – Living in Redmond Oregon and loving life! Expecting a second daughter November 18, 2013. She will join her big sister Abby age 5.

Sharon Fujimoto-Johnson – My husband, Jeremy, and I welcomed our son, Ian Makoto Fujimoto-Johnson, on February 7, 2009 at 21:21 in Roseville, CA. Weight: 7 lbs. 8 oz. Length: 19 in.

Jill (Parker) McBride – Maeve Katherine McBride arrived March 5th, 2009. 4y/o big brother Sean remains happy for her presence. Lance and I have shared 17years of life together, 14 married. God is good.


Jeremy Fritz – I am in Loveland, Colorado about 45 miles north of Denver. I have been working as a CT Scan technologist for the last seven years here after graduating from Loma Linda’s X-ray program in 1998. My wife Lenina and I have two dogs and are both loving Colorado. Being able to see my beloved Broncos play in person a few times a year is the greatest.

Dustin Jones – “After several failed attempts at russianbrides.com, I finally snagged myself a quality young lass from Canada. Heidi (Hiebert) and I got married in June 2008 and have been loving life so far. She works as a hospice chaplain and I’m associate director of public relations at Loma Linda University. I got my master’s three years ago and am starting a doctorate later this year. It’s been great catching up with classmates on Facebook. You can e-mail me at , though I’m pretty terrible at writing back!”

Will & Kim (Ryan) Bowlby – We are so glad to be catching up on the happenings of so many classmates through the internet on facebook! Would still love to reconnect with others, like Brooke Bottroff…where are you Brooke?


Johanna Belsuzarri – I miss a lot of you and would like to hear how you are all doing. It’s been awhile, but I am doing great. I am about to finish my Master’s Degree in International Marketing from Boston University and upon graduation will be looking for a job in International Business. I received my undergrad from the University of California Irvine in International Relations, and through college have been able to pick up another language, Portuguese, and have studied abroad to Spain, Brazil and India. Feel free to email me at to catch up! Warm Regards–Johanna (2/11)

Dusty Clemons Otterstrom – I have now been working for Nova Group, Inc., a construction company that works on military bases all over the world, for 13 years. 2 years ago I stepped out of the accounting department and landed in Contract Admin. My husband, Scott, has been working for IKEA in their direct to customer shipping warehouse in American Canyon for over a year and we’ve been married for 2 1/2 years. We currently live in American Canyon, but are looking to move out of CA. My dad moved in with us after my mom passed away 4 1/2 years ago. I’ve also recently started a pet sitting/dog walking business through Rover and am enjoying meeting all kinds of different dogs and cats.

Jill (Cable) Escareno – I gave birth to my third daughter on 11/20/08 (Elena Violet Escareno) she was born healthy and happy!

Staci (Jones) Fagal – We just added baby #4 to the family! Levi Gordon Fagal joins his sister Adelena Rahel, and his two brothers Rett (William Garrett), and Griffin Robert. If you ever get out to Berrien Springs, MI look us up. We love visitors.(2/11)

Shirley (Whittington) Kennedy – Howdy and many \”warm fuzzies\” to my old friends from Rio. Sadly I had to leave rio in my junior year and graduated from another high school. But the memories of Rio still linger in my mind, bright and fresh as if I was still there. A lot has transpired in the last 16 years. After 12 years of marriage, two wonderful sons (11 and 9) and a not-so-bitter divorce we learn that life goes on!! I now work for the Antioch Unified School District working with Autism and emotionally disturbed students. I had the opportunity to visit Rio for 2010 alumni weekend it was wonderful to visit with Mrs. Pride and to know that she remembers every one of her girls. (and late nite noise complaints, cooking in the dorm rooms, sneaking snakes into my room, riding a galloping horse across the lawns from girls dorm to boys dorm, T.P.-ing her apartment, etc…) I shall never forget either! (2/11)

’94 Dusty Clemons-Hargis – I’m looking forward to our 20 year reunion for 1994. It is with a sad heart that I lost my husband on Sept. 9, 2013. I’m still living in American Canyon and am thankful for my strong support system through this time in my life.
(Posted Nov., 2013)


Emily (Thomsen) Simmons – I’m still living in the Chattanooga, Tennessee area. Just over a year ago my husband and I bought a multi-therapist massage practice and I am slowly turning it into the world-class day spa I dream of owning. (Can we say huge learning curve?!) If any of you are ever in the area, I’d love to have you! www.poplarcreekspa.com

 Benjamin Cooke & Janette (McMillin) Cooke – Live in Aliso Viejo, Ca. with their sons Patrick (6) & Connor (2).

Jennifer (Adams) Waltman – I am still living in the Redding area. I have been married for 16 years with 3 amazing kids. I am working as a Eligibility Supervisor for Health and Human Services. (Posted January, 2015)

Rob & Julie (Burnham) Hagele – Melting in Scottsdale, AZ. Rob manages HVAC service teams across the nation and Julie provides trust services support for SDA entities across the U.S. Entertained by their K-9s, Roo & Cosmo. Rob’s ’29 hotrod build has inspired a ’59 street rod (Julie helps). Living life by God’s grace & blessed with great friends. Thank you Rio!
(Posted August 2012)

Kimberly (Spier) Unruh – Hello everyone, I just wanted to let you know that I will have a new address. As of Feb 1st, my address will be Kimberly Unruh 340 Markham Rd. – Dawson Springs, KY – 42408. For anyone who wants it my email is , or you can find me on facebook. God Bless you in the new year. (1/10)

Jennifer L. Waltman – Hello all! I’m still in Redding, CA working for Victor Community Support Services as a Marriage and Family Therapist. The new thing in my life is that I’m getting married to Tony Grovet of Lacombe, Canada in October 2009. We met here in Redding and plan to continue to live here in the house I bought about a year and a half ago. We spend most of our time kayaking, biking, hiking, working on the house, or spending time with my family who are all in the area. I hope to see you all at alumni weekend in 2010 – 15 years… we can’t really be that old!


Robert Childers – Becky and I welcomed our second son into our family on Dec 30, 2009. Joshua Reed Childers was 6-lbs 9-oz and his older brother Luke loves being a “big” brother. (1/10)

Stephanie Fritz-Ta – “Mike and I are expecting our first child, a daughter, in October. This will be the first grandchild for Mr. & Mrs. Fritz, and we have had so much fun getting ready for her! We can’t wait to bring her for a visit to Rio!”

Beth (Allen) Johnston – We are proud to announce the birth of our baby boy, Joshua Michael Johnston on September 10, 2010. He’s pretty cute! I am still finishing my surgery residency at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, NE, one more year to go. So if anyone is passing through on I-80, we’d love to see you! (2/11)

Cara (Christensen) Farrell – Hi all!  I hope my greeting finds you all doing well!  Life has been fabulous!  My husband and I are still residing in Battle Ground, WA. I have now lived here since 2006. We are thoroughly enjoying the SDA community of Meadow Glade and all our PNW surroundings. Brandon is still working as an Electrical Estimator for a small family business in Vancouver. I recently went back to work as a Medical Assistant for Medical Oncology at the Cancer Center.  Our oldest Hunter turned 13 years old this year and is in the 8th grade, Madison is 12 years old and in the 6th grade, Dylan is 11 years old and in the 5th grade and Lorelei is 8 years old and in the 3rd grade. We keep quite busy with our traveling adventures, hiking, camping, soccer, basketball, Lego robotics and piano. Brandon and I also sing with a praise team for our church in which we thoroughly enjoy doing together!  We have been blessed with our beautiful family and continue to keep God our focal point! Love and hugs to you all! (Posted January, 2015)

Mayra (Urena) Polka – I have finally settled down, gotten married and have a healthy four month old baby boy.  Throughout the last few years I was in the military serving on active duty, deploying to both Iraq and Afghanistan.  I hope to make the next high school reunion.  See you all there!
(Posted August 2012)

Ira (Waworuntu) Ocampo – I’ve been married to Jerome Ocampo for over 5 years. We have been blessed with two children, Jaden who is almost 5 years old and Leila who is 2 years old. We moved to Texas 3 years ago and I currently help my husband by manage our dental office. Even though we are happy living in Texas, our goal is to eventually move back to Southern California to be close to family and also to have our kids grow up in a strong SDA community, like we both did.
(Posted Nov. 2013)


Kimberly (Hershey) Holloway-Cook – Hello to all!! I pray that God is still strong in all of your lives. My husband, Scott, and I are getting ready to celebrate 11 years of marriage. Our children are growing up way to fast. Amber, my stepdaughter, is finishing her second year of college. Brianna is 11 and almost as tall as me. Kaitlynn is 10 and loves ready books, especially the bible and the Guide. David is 9 and loves to get firewood with daddy. Daniel is 8 and loves to make things with his hands. I am a homemaker and a teacher as I home school our children. My husband is self employed with construction work and witnessing about Jesus and His soon coming. We live just 10 miles from Canada and 40 miles to Idaho in a little town called Metaline Falls, Washington. They filmed the movie “The Postman”, with Kevin Costner, in this town. It is really God’s country here. You can look me up on FaceBook and see all that is going on. May God Bless each of you and may you remember that our time is short! There is no time like right now to choose Jesus! (2/11)

Rona Padua – recently was married to David Vergne in France on 7/17/10. They currently live in San Francisco where she is enjoying her job as a Senior Video Producer. (10/10)


Johanna Belsuzarri – I miss a lot of you and would like to hear how you are all doing. It’s been awhile, but I am doing great. I am about to finish my Master’s Degree in International Marketing from Boston University and upon graduation will be looking for a job in International Business. I received my undergrad from the University of California Irvine in International Relations, and through college have been able to pick up another language, Portuguese, and have studied abroad to Spain, Brazil and India. Warm Regards–Johanna (11/10)

’98 Abraham & Michelle (Pennington) Villasante – We have a new daughter Marlow Belén, she is 7months.  And my oldest just turned 3. We live in Elk Grove California.  My wife Michelle and I met at Rio and are still together and happily enjoying our family.   (posted Nov. 2013)


Andrew Caldwell – God has been good over the last several weeks and months. I am back in Taipei, and I am still teaching at Taipei Adventist Preparatory Academy (TAPA). We just finished our first week of school, with school starting this last Tuesday. For the most part my classes are the same as they were last year, except for the addition of A.P. U.S. History. Last year I began the school year with five classes and four preps and ended the year with six classes and four preps, teaching U.S. History, World History, American Government, and Geography. With the addition of the A.P. U.S. History class, I am now up to five preps, but this was my own doing.

In TAPA’s sixth year as a school, we have taken the next step to identify ourselves as a college preparatory academy with our A.P. program. Besides my U.S. History course, our school now as of this year offers A.P. courses in two other disciplines: mathematics with A.P. Calculus and foreign languages with A.P. Chinese. Although we did not advertise these classes until final’s week during the last week of this last school year, we have been pushing our students to consider taking an A.P. class. As a result, school began on Tuesday with five students in my regular U.S. History class and twenty students who had signed up to be in my A.P. class out of just over ninety students enrolled at TAPA. Naturally, this number was artificially high with the expectation that many would transfer classes within the first two weeks of school, as students compared college goals with class-loads and homework loads for the classes enrolled in. From this first week’s classes, I expect that I will have around nine or ten students remain in my A.P. class for the year. My regular U.S. History course now houses around thirteen or fourteen students.

Many students are not sure about the course load in an A.P. class as would be found in a typical college class, although most are fully capable of taking these classes. My classes have earned a reputation as being rigorous courses with college building skills over this last school year, to the point that I was one of two teachers of eighteen who was introduced to incoming freshman by the phrase “take their classes as they will prepare you for college.” This reputation might be working against me in retaining students in my A.P. class, given the first week’s workload. Besides reading the first chapter in their textbook, America: A Narrative History, students read an essay on how to read primary documents, a large portion of the Mayan Creation Myth, Popul Vuh, and a short chapter in one of Fernand Braudel’s books that discusses historical agency and his threefold approach placing geography, culture, and political leaders and events in order of importance. In addition, they have a short project due on Monday, where they are to create a brochure that compares their family’s history with the bigger picture of the geography and history of Taipei.

With the changing education market in Taipei, our focus on A.P. classes along with a strong Christ-centered Christian education and our cheaper tuition– as compared to Taipei American School or Taipei European School– our school should remain strong. Several factors have caused the enrollment at all Western stylized schools to drop some this year. Foremost is the economy. Followed by a push by local schools to offer international English speaking high school degrees to get into Western colleges. Finally, Taiwan is ending its required draft with this year’s incoming freshman class, taking the pressure off many who would use Western schools as a means to transfer to schools in foreign countries to avoid the draft, or they are transferring out now to American schools, fearing that education visa’s might be put on hold in the future with China’s increasing diplomatic pressure.

Besides our A.P. classes, our school also had a facelift with a new paint job both on the exterior and interior. Of our two buildings with the facing sides having been painted green and red in the past, these buildings will now reflect our school colors that have been finalized last year of blue and yellow. My classroom has changed from side walls of off-white and end walls of a very very light blue and tan to having two walls painted a forest green and two an off-white. The green really makes classroom posters pop out. I have also cut out letters in tan of 2 Corinthians 12:9 and pasted them on the wall above the whiteboard as a motto for this school year in my classroom.

In addition, our students will be wearing uniforms for the first time this school year. The uniforms consist of a dark navy blue sports jacket with the school crest, a v-necked sweater with the crest, two long-sleeve and two short-sleeve button up shirts with the crest, two different color polo shirts with the crest and the choice of khaki pants or shorts, or a skirt for the girls. Uniforms have always been on the long-term plan for our school but have not been implemented until this point. Students will have the choice to wear any combination of the uniform on any given day. This will look much sharper than the local school uniforms of most of the public schools, which tend to be jumpsuits with the school’s name, student’s name, and student’s ID written on them. These jumpsuits are often of horrendous colors such as suits made of green and purple, blue, white, or other colors, making students appear as if they just left a prison.

Many of you have probably heard about Typhoon Morakat by now. This typhoon struck Taiwan about a week ago, on Friday through Saturday morning, with the eye striking Taiwan about 2:00 on Saturday morning. Originally, this typhoon was supposed to stay north of Taiwan and reach a peak category of 2 on the hurricane scale. By last Thursday, forecasters placed the storm as headed directly to Taipei. Taipei has a propensity of being struck directly by typhoons each year. I think there must be something about how the ocean currents, ocean trenches, mountain chains of Taiwan, and monsoon directions in August through October that points typhoons our direction. Last year we were struck directly by two typhoons that were at a category four and a category two shortly before they came to Taipei. One of them struck at the same time and in the same intensity as and when Hurricane Ike struck Houston. As always though, the surrounding mountains broke up the wind of the typhoon, so that we received a tiny amount of wind but mostly rain.

Instead of tracking towards Taipei, Typhoon Morakat remained over central Taiwan before heading towards mainland China. The typhoon remained at a category one, but did strengthen to a category two briefly before making its first landfall. Most businesses were closed on Friday as a result, but I was surprised to note that at least a quarter of them remained open. Staff orientation was cancelled for Friday and moved to Sunday due to the typhoon. Not having anything to do at home and given the weak nature of this typhoon, I took the MRT or Metro Regional Transit system to school to work for four hours, which in the Shihlin area is a raised platform train that only becomes a subway a few stations after the school. After working, I decided to walk home, experiencing just a little wind and rain in the process. Going to church on Saturday morning was quite easy. Although the eye struck between 2:00 and 3:00 in the morning, the sky was mostly clear by 8:00. By the time church and potluck ended around 1:30, most of the city had already been cleaned up from the few branches and leaves that had been knocked down during the storm.

Unfortunately, this is not the same story that central Taiwan experienced. The storm in these parts caused massive flooding and landslides. Many aboriginal villages were largely destroyed by these floods and landslides. I have heard that one of the Seventh-day Adventist churches in the area was flooded and at least three church families lost their homes as the floods carried them away. Over this last week, TAPA has conducted a fundraiser to aid these victims, with the money, food, clothing, and furniture going to a combination of the Bunun tribe of aborigines and the Jia-lan SDA Church.

I had the opportunity to visit Japan on the way back to Taiwan from the United States in late July. My schedule allowed for parts of six days or basically four tourist days and two travel days in Japan. Knowing my first full tourist day would be on Saturday, I wanted to do something in nature to honor God’s Sabbath. Thus the first two days I spent in Japan, I spent in the Mt. Fuji area. The first full day, I climbed Mt. Fuji, joining several other Americans I met in the journey for that day. Hiking up was nice but very steep. Clouds were streaming off of the summit that day, giving a very moody but awe-inspiring view of the valley and mountains below. The top was completely encased in clouds, with a great deal of rain. The cooler temperatures certainly made the top memorable but slightly miserable. We did make the summit, but with the cloud cover were not able to see anything. The next day, the cloud cover was gone, giving a great view of the mountain from below. That day I visited a couple of volcanic tube caves and a historical village by the name of Sai-ko Iyashi-no Sato Nenba. This village had originally been destroyed by a mudslide in 1966, but was now rebuilt as a tourist center. Each building honored one handicraft or way of living in the older traditional style of Japanese living.

Monday and Tuesday were spent in Tokyo. As all the museums were closed on Monday, I ended up spending the day at DisneySea, a branch of DisneyLand focused on different lands of water from a New England seacoast to a Central American river to an Arabian Seacoast to a futuristic seacoast, a mermaid lagoon, a retro “20,000 Leagues under the Sea” lake, and a pirates lagoon. Tuesday the museums were open.

That evening I visited Roppongi Hills and Tokyo Tower. On this day, I was able to visit the Imperial Palace Gardens on the site of the old Edo Castle. Likewise I visited the Tokyo National Museum, the equivalent of the National Palace Museum in Taiwan. Here they had archeological artifacts back to Japan’s beginnings as well as a great deal of art from Japan’s past. I greatly enjoyed this museum but I think the National Palace Museum in Taiwan houses a greater collection of Asia’s past, with much of China’s treasure stored there. That evening I visited the Tokyo-Edo museum that looked at the historical development of Edo and the transformation it went to become Tokyo. Overall, this was a fast trip but a good overview of several aspects of Japan’s culture, geology, and past and present.

Instead of posting pictures with my e-mails, I have decided to create a Flickr account. This was largely done to share my life with the long distance relationship I have with a girl I am dating in Alberta, but it should also serve the purpose of these e-mails. My username is Caldwellae. You should be able to search for these pictures under People on the regular Flickr homepage. Here you will find pictures of my Japan trip, of some flowers I took pictures of in my Mother’s garden, and a few other shots. If you have a Flickr account and add me as a contact, there are several other pictures from my life over the summer, including a solo-backpacking trip I took in the Hetch Hetchy area of Yosemite in mid-July (twenty-seven miles, four thousand vertical feet, and three days), and a trip to Alberta, Canada in mid-June.

I hope all is going well in each of your lives. And I hope that each of you can experience some of the grace from our Lord Jesus Christ in the coming weeks and months.

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