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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

Monday, February 1, 2010

Healdsburg Happenings with Mike McGuire

I look forward to contributing news about Northern Sonoma County, and as a new columnist for the Gazette, just want to introduce myself.

I am glad to be contributing because I feel really connected to Sonoma County, including its agriculture, its environment and its resources. My family goes back four generations as prune farmers here. I grew up in the Alexander Valley and Healdsburg, raised by my mom and grandma. I have been glad to be able to “give back” to Sonoma County by serving on the School Board and Healdsburg City Council. I am now proud to be involved in a printing company in our community.

There is so much happening up here!

I am proud how folks came out for Martin Luther King day - we collected groceries for the food bank in Windsor, and over 300 coats for the homeless in Healdsburg.

Just spent this weekend at the Old Time Fiddle Festival in Cloverdale with my fiancé Erika. Amazing how much talent our music festivals attract to our county – as well as so much local talent too. We are so lucky to have the Jazz Festival and Guitar Festival, art walks, and great classical music too!

Coming up February 5 to the 7th will be the Wild Steelhead Festival on the Healdsburg Plaza. This is an amazing event every year, sponsored by Trout Unlimited, the Russian Riverkeeper, Hotel Healdsburg, and the Chamber of Commerce. There will be a free trout pond, fly fishing demonstration, exhibits and cooking demos – as well as great food, music and wine-tasting. More info at:

The Russian Riverkeeper has been instrumental, working with the Clean Water Coalition of Northern Sonoma County , to make sure that the river continues as a pristine community resource. Our lives interact with the river in so many ways that aren’t even apparent. Together we were able to prevent dumping of wastewater directly into the river, and onto premium grapevines.

All of our North Sonoma County communities are doing more to try to develop recreational spaces that take advantage of the river’s proximity – including parks in Cloverdale, Healdsburg, and Windsor. We are also working to re-establish the tributaries that feed the river, including native plant replacement on Foss Creek. The council was very honored that the Russian Riverkeeper awarded Healdsburg the “Friend of the Russian River” award in 2009 acknowledging these efforts.

It’s not in our area, but my pug, Bubba, wanted me to mention a great event for celebrating Valentine’s day: the Paws for Love event on February 6 at the Finley Community Center. This is an evening of wine, chocolate, art and love to benefit homeless and abused animals. More info:

Every day just makes me happy to be part of such an amazing county!