Things get lost

It was 1982 when Steven Spielberg brought forth Poltergeist, that horror movie where the little blond girl stretches out her hands on the snowed-out static of her family’s living-room TV screen and proclaims ominously, “They’re heeeere.”

Unlike Poltergeist—in which a family gets haunted by ghosts after moving into a suburban home built on an ancient American Indian burial ground—what’s happening in Rancho Murieta is a work of nonfiction.

The area has an almost unparalleled archaeological, historic and cultural heritage, some of which dates back to when Stone Age man lived, more than 10,000 years ago. But it seems slowly to be getting paved over anyway. Already, oak trees have been felled, and streets paved, to make room for housing developments, with their red roofs and swimming pools. Some even say that Rancho Murieta’s cemetery has been shrinking—i.e., that new homes actually have been built on top of graves.

What was that about them being heeeere?

Now, a new leapfrog development proposal could wipe out what remains. Although they’re protected by a patchwork of state and federal laws, nobody seems too confident that the natural environment and historic sites of Rancho Murieta are being preserved adequately. For a look at a controversy that pits developers against environmentalists and preservationists, see Cosmo Garvin’s story “What lies beneath.

And speaking of things lost …

This is the week we say farewell to Jackson Griffith, who has served as SN&R’s arts editor for the past four-and-a-half years. Admired by colleagues for his encyclopedic knowledge of the local and national music scenes, Griffith infused SN&R’s arts section with wisdom, wit and warmth. His brainy writing and unswerving allegiance to Sacramento musicians will be greatly missed. Meanwhile, Griffith’s colleagues here also will miss his untamed theories about national and international politics, his wild Web-site alerts and his storehouse-like memory—random and not so random—of all things Sacramento.

Goodbye and best of luck to him.