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Front Page Calaveras Enterprise January 13 2004

Mentor program fund raiser hums along

By Mike Taylor

The Calaveras Youth Mentoring Program is rolling right along, literally. Program Director Kathryn Eustis said the Calaveras County community has "really stepped up" to help her get the program going.

The mission of the program, "is to connect Calaveras County young people in first through 12th grades with positive adult role models who will offer support, guidance and friendship and help the youth make healthy life decisions," according to program literature.

Eustis said she is just getting matches between mentors and "mentees" together after a year spent talking to potential mentors and setting up the program.

"We wanted to get people familiar with the program," she said. "The advisory committee is incredible and the community has been tremendously supportive."

One of the new advisory committee members is Tim Hildabrand of Murphys. He said he sold a business last year and has some time so he decided to get involved with mentoring.

"There's no junior entrepreneur programs up here," Hildabrand said, so he jumped into the Youth Mentoring Program with both feet. "Tim has done so much for this program," Eustis said. Hildabrand reformatted the Web site and has helped to attract mentors to the group, but it's his fund-raising ideas that have taken Eustis' breath away.

Hildabrand owns a bright yellow 1997 Hummer H1 he calls the "BumbleV," and is offering its use to those who might want an unusual ride in the county. The vehicle seats about six in the winter and can accommodate up to eight in the summer because of a jump seat in the back.

"All the seats have approved seatbelts in them," Hildabrand said. And the beefy rig runs on biodiesel, a mix of petroleum and soybean oil.

"I wanted to be a mentor, but once I got involved I realized they needed the help" with raising money, Hildabrand said. So, anyone who wants to rent his Hummer can do so, for a fee that Hildabrand will donate to the Youth Mentoring Program. "I wanted to do something different."

All folks need to do is e-mail or call Hildabrand and tell him what dates they are interested in. He will arrive and drive donors just about anywhere. It would make an interesting arrival to the prom, Hildabrand noted, and said he'd happily drive diners to their meal and back.

Hildabrand charges $15 an hour, per person, with a two- person minimum. For three or more people, the fee is $40 an hour. "All of the money goes to the Mentoring Program," Hildabrand said.

On Thursday from 2 to 5 p.m., interested riders may get a close look at Hildabrand's BumbleV at a special mentoring celebration at the Calaveras County Office of Education at 185 S. Main St., Angels Camp. The day coincides with the nationwide "Thank Your Mentor Day," and features free hot chocolate and apple cider. Hildabrand plans to truck several loads of snow to the parking lot and park his Hummer on the snow hill.

On Feb. 21, Hildabrand has scheduled a special Hummer Club Snow Run. He said 15 other Hummer owners have agreed to allow passengers to hop inside their vehicles for a drive through the snow. The daylong ride begins at 8 a.m. at the Meadowmont Shopping Center in Arnold. Seats cost $50 a person and are going fast, Hildabrand said. All of the Hummer owners have agreed to donate their time and vehicles to the event.

"We want to try and have this be an annual event," Hildabrand said. "We'll have a summer run too."

Call 728-1691 or visit to reserve a seat or schedule a ride in Hildabrand's Hummer. Call 736-6078 to volunteer, or for more information about the Calaveras Youth Mentoring Program.

Contact Mike Taylor at


Ultimate Truck 

Hummer is a big rig full of conveniences

By Mark Maynard, Wheels Editor San Diego Union-Tribune May 17th 1997

 How's it drive," shouted the man in an Isuzu Trooper stopped next to me at a traffic light. He had a broad smile and gestured excitedly at this square shouldered, bright yellow '97 Hummer. Shouting back above the clatter of this beast's diesel V-8, I replied: "Not as rough as it looks." 

This is a $70,000 toy that just happens to be able to carry four people in air conditioned comfort to west hell and back. It's the ultimate in presence and quite easy to drive. 

The AM General Hummer, made famous in the Gulf War, isn't so much a story of off-highway superiority as it is one of on-road power. The power to reroute traffic, the power to stop a taxi from pulling into your path, the power to make other drivers think twice before doing something careless with this behemoth filling his or her rearview mirror.

With a modest 195 horsepower, it may seem less well endowed than some of the V-8 ute brutes available, but it has torque and traction to yank a house off its foundation. And along the way it can plow through three feet of snow, step over 18-inch vertical ledges and swim through 2 feet of water all while carrying up to two tons of gear. 

Inside, it's more big rig than passenger truck in ambiance, yet all the convenience elements are available for everyday use. Reading off the standard equipment list makes it sound like a luxury car: 4 speed automatic transmission,  4 Wheel power disc brakes, independent suspension, power steering, AM-FM-cassette stereo, halogen headlights, aluminum body, fiberglass hood, flow through ventilation, power door locks, air conditioning, tinted glass. 

But read on and you get a picture of something far more unpeeled and raw: full-time four-wheel drive with torque doubling geared hubs, 2-speed lockable transfer case, deluxe heat and sound insulation, utility lighting package, full hard doors and 37-inch tall tires for 16 inches of high-steppin' ground clearance. 

The test truck had a base price of $58,451 and a price as tested of $77,715, which included an $11,047 option package of central tire inflation system, runflat tires, drive line protection, power mirrors, remote keyless entry, tow package, cruise control and more. An electric winch added $2,347 and the heated windshield another $594. 

The Hummer has been padding around in civilian form since 1992 and has gone through refining tweaks every year since. It's still pure truck and not a whole lot has changed since I reviewed a gasoline-engine model in 1994, but a number of refinements for '97 have made for a more enjoyable driving experience: 

A stronger, optional turbo diesel, such as was showcased in the test truck, now rated at 195 hp and 430 foot-pounds of torque; 
Interior noise has been reduced through an insulation package that includes soft headliners 
Optional heated windshield, 
A colder, stronger air conditioner with improved ventilation 
Better padded seats; 
And some interior changes such as low-coolant warning light, rearview mirror with compass and temperature display and map lights over the rear seats. All the seats were touched up for more support and durability, too. 

The improvements I appreciated most were the $4,523 optional 6.5 liter turbo diesel and the sound proofing. Two General Motors diesel engines are now available. The 5.7 liter gasoline V-8 has been discontinued. The standard 6.5 liter diesel is rated at 170 hp and 290 foot-pounds of torque; 0-60 mph is about 19.5 seconds The turbo diesel cuts 
the 0-60 hustle to 18 seconds, and it feels quicker in the 0-30 range. It cruises comfortably at 65 to 70 mph, but has a top speed of 83. 

At 6,600 pounds, this puppy goes through fuel like a thirsty pit bull drinking out of a mud puddle. Mileage ratings  are not required because it is a Class III truck, but AM General claims it will get 12 mpg around town and 17 on the highway. I estimate combined city/highway mileage of 10 to 12 mpg, or less. A broad cruising radius is assured, however, by the 25-gallon main tank and a 17-gallon reserve. 

The Hummer is a remarkable package of wall-crawling, river fording, desert-storming machismo that will respond to every input from a driver no taller than 5 foot-4. Power steering and strong four wheel (axle-mounted) disc brakes create a sense of security; there are no air bags nor ABS. 

Visibility is decent out the front and sides but a little chancy over the shoulder, which makes it a handful if you're planning to stop by the mall or corner shopping center. 

Sure there are places where someone can really use the capabilities that come with Hummer ownership. The back country of San Diego County has plenty of arroyos and rock piles to keep an owner entertained. but that's not the point. 

When it comes to the Hummer exclusivity is the point. It's different. You don't see one every day, and its size, price and Tonka-truck looks are all points of pride in ownership. 

Ya' gotta love trucks to buy one of these, but the attraction isn't just in what it can do, but how it makes the owner feel.    This is testosterone made godlike. 

Mark Maynard is driving in cyberspace at mark 


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From Autoweek June 9th 1997 


 How would you like a Hummer from Arnold Schwarzenegger? 
That's what California aerobics instructor Irma Fifield won in a sweepstakes at a recent sports and fitness show the use of Arnold's own personal Humvee for a year. 
The $80,000 Hummer has just 7337 miles on the odometer and a dashboard plaque noting that the truck Serial No. 002 was built just for him. Irma says the Hummer's intimidation factor keeps errant motorists out of her way but she still worries about scratching it "Look who I'd have to answer to." We know. That Maria Shriver scares the 
bejeezus out of us, too. 


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From the San Diego Union August 1997 
Pizza Hummer: Chuck Hammers holds pizzas that his drivers deliver in this Hummer all-terrain vehicle. 

These pizzas WILL go through Because they're  toted in millitary-style  ATVs 


PALO ALTO  The all-terrain, 15-foot-long boxy vehicle has a utilitarian design and can go through 21/2 feet of water or scale an 18 inch-high loading dock. 

Perfect for war or delivering pizza. "If it floods in Palo Alto, we're still going to be able to deliver," said Chuck Hammers, whose Pizza A Go Go drivers use Hummers, a civilian version of the famous oversized Humvee military transport. 

"They're a blast to drive," said Tim Silva, an employee who gets behind the wheel of an $85 000 jet-black 1995 model to do his fob. "You could go any-where in them." 

The company's two Hummers also do double duty as rolling advertisements for Pizza A Go Go. "It really turns heads when it goes by," Hammers said. "It's a great investment. Everyone knows us by the Hummer. It's like driving a billboard 16 hours a day." 

The Hummer's manufacturer, AM General Corp. also designed the military Humvee, of Persian Gulf War fame. The company began selling its slightly modified civilian version to the public in 1992. Arnold Schwarzenegger was the first to climb in. Last year, about 1,400 of the vehicles of which the cheapest model sells for just under $53,000 were sold. 

Although delivering pizzas on the streets of Palo Alto hasn't yet pushed the Hummer to its limits, Siliva joked that if traffic were backed up he could always drive over someone's front lawn to get to his destination. Company policy, of course, wouldn't allow that, Hammers said. 

"We train our drivers to be really very careful, not to tailgate," he said, adding, however, that most motorists tend to get out of the way when they spot the Hummer in the rear-view mirror.

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