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Welcome to the Sonoma County Gazette ARCHIVE of PAST EDITIONS. Our NEW WEBSITE is up and running, so GazExtra is serving as your path to archived articles. Thanks for being part of our Sonoma County community...stay in touch...e-mail me - VESTA

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Efren Carrillo - Our Community

Congratulations to everyone involved in the building, design, and planning for Harmony Union School District’s Salmon Creek Falls Environmental Center at their Occidental campus. Victoria Johnson reports that it has earned the very first LEED PLATINUM certification in Sonoma County, and is the only LEED Platinum public school building in the State! This remarkable achievement resulted from true community collaboration and a lot of hard work.

An important special election for the Russian River Redevelopment Oversight Committee (RRROC) will take place on December 18, 2009 between 5:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. Mail in ballots can be sent if they are received by December 17th.

For details about the election and to read candidate statements, visit
The RRROC provides citizen input and makes funding recommendations for the Russian River Redevelopment Project. Information about meetings and updates are also available at the CDC website.

There are five RRROC seats up for the election in 2009:
  • Two seats in the Residential Tenant category (candidates: Amber Twitchell, Chris Auzton, and Dawn Robinson-Warner)
  • Two seats in the Residential Owner-Occupant/Residential Property Owner category (candidates: Ken Wikle, Rex Good, and Tom Lynch)
  • One seat in the Business Owner/Business Property owner category (running unopposed: Elio Buck Sierra)
The Sonoma County Energy Independence Program (SCEIP) recently reached the $40 million mark in applications. This program provides financing for homeowners and building owners to make energy and water upgrades. From new insulation and windows to toilets and heaters and solar panels, this program is making homes and buildings throughout Sonoma County more energy and water efficient. Many thanks go to Assemblyman Jared Huffman for authoring AB811 which paved the way for our SCEIP program and its financing mechanism.

Local residents from large ranches to individual homeowners have taken advantage of this program. The Dutton Ranch near Sebastopol installed solar panels on their workers' housing that offset up to 99% of the building's electricity needs. This system saves more in electricity costs than their payments.

Having a professional perform an audit of your home or building can reveal inexpensive, easy repairs that can save a lot of energy. For example, a few small efficiency improvements such as duct sealing and insulation can reduce the size of a planned solar system substantially and therefore the system cost.

Russell Gaughen of Monte Rio chose to improve his 1950s era home's energy efficiency on his own by replacing windows, doors and insulation. After making sure his building envelope was energy efficient, the SCEIP program allowed Russell the financing mechanism to install the solar upgrade that he had longed for. With his solar panel system in place, he will pay for it over time with the money he saves on energy bills.

Following on the heels of SCEIP, a collaboration developed by the County and major cities (Santa Rosa, Petaluma, and Rohnert Park) resulted in the newly created Sonoma County Regional Climate Protection Authority which will work with the Climate Protection Campaign to design and implement a one-stop retrofit service. The retrofit program, due to launch in April 2010, will provide energy analysis, finance packages and options (SCEIP), and access to certified contractors through a single contact point.

Funded in part by federal stimulus money, the design and implementation of the retrofit program will include stakeholder input and collaboration with existing programs. The first quarter of 2010 is the critical input and design period for the program. For information or to provide resources, contact Chris Cone ( or 525-1665x118).

To take advantage of the SCEIP program, contact Sonoma County Energy Independence Program ( or 521-6200)

This Christmas season is a great time to support the work of Starcross Community, in the Annapolis hills, which serves the needs of children with HIV/AIDS both locally and internationally. The Starcross story shows that the work of few can make a difference in the lives of many. Starcross relies on Holiday sales to support their work year round. This has been an especially challenging for them with their olive harvest reduced by 90%, so please visit their website at for both inspiration and to show support with a gift purchase or donation.

This year has been difficult for many in our community, and challenges lie ahead for all of us in the coming year...The Holidays are a good time to slow down, breathe, and appreciate friends, family, and our beautiful county. I hope this season brings all of you opportunities for joy and reflection, and a look forward to the turn of the year.

County offices will be closed from Christmas Eve through January 3rd, as part of a cost saving measures agreed to by our employees.

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