"Local Personalities"

Steve Blaisdell
Mountain Plumbdyman

by Maggie Van Ostrand

It's been two years since Steve Blaisdell arrived in Lebec from his Indiana hometown, where he learned the plumbing trade from his stepfather. Back then in his spare time, he mined the mineral, opal, an iridescent variety of which is used as a gem.

A first-rate plumber, Steve is also well-versed in the intricacies of carpentry, masonry, tile work, and even a soupçon of electrical work; hence we bestow upon him the title of "Plumbdyman."

His Mountain Maintenance company serves all the communities up here, from Las Padres Canyon to Pine Mountain Club, and everything in between.

Father of two girls who have blessed him with five and three-quarters grandchildren (one's on the way), Steve is now divorced and (dare we say it?), available.

For eleven years, he has been taking care of his legally blind 75-year-old mom, Jeannine, who lives with him. She was formerly with the Holiday Inn and Hampton Inn chains as hotel manager.

Steve is also completing his latest invention: a Nighttime Emergency Address System (prototype is pictured).

This System (patent pending) lights up at night by either optional switch or automatically, and was created to aid emergency personnel in locating homes in the dark of night. It is designed to help the Fire Department, paramedics and ambulances, Policemen and Sheriff's vehicles. Just the other night in Frazier Park, an ambulance was unable to quickly locate the people who had phoned for emergency assistance, since there was no address on the specific house or any houses nearby. Good luck with that great idea, Steve.

Spare time? Not much, but when he has some, Steve puts to good use his old knack for mining opals by occasionally mining for something else: gold. He and his brother pan for it, mine for it, sluice, or use a metal detector. I guess you could even call Steve the Prospectin' Plumber. There's gold in them thar hills.

One type of gold mine in California is "Placer," which refers to gold embedded in clay, sand, or gravel in either shallow dirt or deep (over twenty feet below the surface). This is the origin of the term, "pay dirt."

If all that isn't enough, Steve is also authenticating a model stagecoach, painting the precise woodgrain, wood wheels, and exact color of the back canvas flap. It's this same kind of precision in his handy work that makes Steve a great addition to our area.

Unless and until Steve hits paydirt with the Mother Lode, or locates investors for the Nighttime Emergency Address System, he'll be content to help residents of Frazier Mountain and surrounding areas with their home improvement and construction endeavors.

With all the recent activity in these parts, Steve's talents are filling a new and high need for help. We're glad you're here, Steve.

Reprinted by permisson of Maggie Van Ostrand

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