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  • Mazzariello Labyrinth: Sibley Volcanic Regional PreserveMazzariello Labyrinth: Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve Oakland, California
    The maze or labyrinth was made by Helena Mazzariello, a Montclair psychic and sculptor, who wanted to give the world a gift, or a place to come, meditate, pray or awake your inner spirit to the joys and beauty of the world around us. The maze is located in Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve in the East Bay Regional Park of Oakland, California, and has also been called the Volcanic Witch Project. It is found in a remote location of the preserve, that is perfect for the maze and the aura that is felt by many who come here, 24/7, to regain, renew or just to energize their spiritual feelings. It takes extra time to get there, but the trip is worth it, with many messages, and talismans there for your perusal and examination. For many that come here, the labyrinth is a catalyst for true spiritual awakening, embodying the frontier of the extreme limits of our knowledge of the mystical and our never ending search for religious enlightenment. It is actually a circle of stones, which has been created since the very ancient times by numerous religions for guidance, as well as healing. This circle of stones, have been ceremonially put on the ground to magnify the spiritual energy, much like the old medicine wheels that were built by native Americans that lived in North and South Americans and Stonehenge. However, the Mazzariello labyrinth is special since it sits in the most aesthetically beautiful and serene environment in the world, or at least, many believe so. This marvelous labyrinth is said to have been born of volcanic fire and brimstone, positioned perfectly in the geologic and spiritual crossroads of the east, orient, and the west, American west. It has helped many diverse groups and continues to do so, with many folks coming here continuously to gain more of that special sense of serenity and purpose. Some controversy continues to plague the site, since it is a violation of the park rules and regulations, although there are some park officials who don't mind the added attraction to their park area. Unfortunately, there are many who come here to worship or pray, that use candles and incense, to elevate their prayers, but also cause some concern about fires. This area of California is prone to the fires that come with the winds and storms, and the fire hazard has always remained high. A recent addition to the site may be the final solution, since it is a solar powered lamp, set in the center cairn and adds warmth and beauty to the night visitations by many. A pit has also been dug in the center so that those wishing to burn candles or incense may use this pit in relative safety and satisfaction to the homeowners in the area who are nervous about the possibilities of fire. This is an area of uncertain environmental futures and is could be gone in a day, by the park officials that must listen to the powers that be. So, if you are in the area, try to check it all out on the internet before trekking up there to visit the labyrinth.

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  • USS PotomacUSS Potomac Oakland, California
    The USS Potomac, AG-25, was originally known as the USCGC Electra, and was/is the former presidential yacht of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who used it from 1936 until 1945, when he passed on. This is one of the three still surviving presidential yachts, preserved in the Oakland, California harbor, and was a decoy in 1941, while Roosevelt was attending a top secret meeting to create the Atlantic Charter. It was built by the Manitowoc Ship Building Company in Manitowoc, Wisconsin to become the United States Coast Guard Cutter Electra. In 1936, she was converted into a presidential yacht and commissioned for the navy. During the following years, she was used a lot by the President, for political meetings and fishing trips. In 1939, Great Britain's King George VI and Queen Elizabeth sailed on the Roosevelt's yacht to visit Mount Vernon, the former home of George Washington. In August of 1941, Roosevelt left the nation's capital on board the yacht, traveling to New London's naval submarine base. Afterwards, it sailed to Appogansett Bay for fishing and entertaining the Crown Princess of Norway, Martha. Finally it anchored in Menemsha Bight in Vineyard Sound, where the USS Augusta, a heavy cruiser, lay anchored also, and in the wee hours of the morning of August 5, the yacht moved alongside the cruiser, where the President and his party boarded it. The Augusta then headed to Newfoundland for a top secret meeting with Churchill, at its highest speed. In Newfoundland, Roosevelt and Churchill agreed on the principles of the Atlantic Charter, agreed on the principles of the Allied partnership of the second World War and set the stage for the creation of the United Nations in the post-war peace. During that time, the President's flag had continued to be flown on the Potomac, as she crawled along the cape at Cape Cod and out into the Atlantic Ocean. One of the secret servicemen, who like about the President's size and had his mannerisms, wheeled about the yacht, hoping to deceive any spies that might be watching his movements. The daily press releases about the President, left the yacht so that all the world thought Roosevelt was having a wonderful holiday on his yacht. When he passed on, the yacht was returned to the Coast Guard in November of 1945. From 1946, she was with the Maryland Tidewater Fisheries Commission and then sold to Warren G. Toone in 1960, where he used the yacht to ferry people around Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Elvis Presley purchase the Potomac in 1964, for $55,000, eventually offering it to the March of Dimes, who said they couldn't do it. Giving it to the St. Jude's Children Hospital in Memphis, they sold it as a fundraiser, getting $75,000 for it that same year. Sadly, in 1980, it was seized in a drug smuggling operation in San Francisco, towed to Treasure Island, where it sank. Two weeks later, the US Navy managed to refloat her and she was sold to the port of Oakland for $15,000 and completely refurbished. She calmly sits a the Jack London Square in Oakland and is open for tours and cruises.

January 11, 2011