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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

Spirit of Santa Rosa by Nina Tepedino

I am very pleased to be the new Santa Rosa columnist for the Sonoma County Gazette. I now reside in downtown Santa Rosa, after being a resident of Sebastopol in the seventies and then again from 2003 to 2008.

Even in the seventies, Santa Rosa was not just a place we drove through on our way to soak in Calistoga. There were the Harmony Festivals, concerts with the Sonoma County Chorus as a soprano soloist, parks to walk in, good restaurants and the big new 3rd St. Cinema (which has just announced its foreclosure and struggles to survive.)

Recently, in the last few years there have been the Farmer’s Markets, the Rialto, more festivals, the Fair, gatherings and marches for Peace and Justice, the county office of education, substituting in a variety of schools throughout the Valley and the GE Free campaign, with many of us together in solidarity against the threat posed by Monsanto and the necessity to protect our local organic farms and food sources.

For the past year, I have lived in a high rise apartment building in downtown Santa Rosa, where, from my balcony, I see Mt. St. Helena, Geyser Peak, the valley, the art deco Roxy sign, the sunsets and the saved trees. I have begun to appreciate this part of our county. I am beginning to feel connected to the spirit of this small city and its surrounding neighborhoods, as I walk around, talk with people, shop on Fourth St., even enjoy the Mall, walk to the library, run into Sawyers for the newspapers (which I am very sad to report, is going out of business in May!) and practice my Tai Chi in the Burbank Gardens. So, I will be reporting with a slant for the artistic, nature, the issues that contribute to improving the life of our planet and caring for each other.

An Historical Tidbit
According to popular legend, this area was named by Father Amorosa, after baptizing a young Native American woman in a stream. Because the baptism took place on the Feast of Santa Rosa, it was the name given to the stream and later to the whole small city/town and to the young woman who was baptized. In the seventies, someone told me the name given to the whole valley by the local Pomo, Miwok or Wappo nations, which I don’t remember. It was translated to mean the Valley of Tears, where there were swamps and heavy mists. Does anyone out there know more about this early legend?

The Environment...
Our Green Spaces
This mid January seems to be the time for pruning the roses and all the flowering shrubs. During these darkest of days, it is time to prepare for Spring. Perhaps a time to do some needed pruning in our lives....a time to plant seeds......a time to find a community garden.....a time to create your own backyard plot.

In the coming months, you will be learning more about the iGROW campaign being launched by the Sonoma County Dept of Health Services in their downtown Santa Rosa offices. The iGROW campaign will be supporting home, school and community gardens. Juilliard Park area and the Burbank Historic District sponsor a community garden. I am going to have my plot there to grow much of my own food. But, more on gardens in the up-coming March issue.

Also, try to reaquaint yourself with this park and the gardens. Wonderful places to visit! Bring your camera, because if you are a lover of ancient trees and garden design, you will discover extraordinary arts of nature to photograph!

The Arts
It will be interesting to follow how the AT&T building and addition controversy will be resolved. The proposal to move the Sonoma County Museum to this more central courthouse square location would be a welcomed development.

If you have never visited the Museum, don’t wait for years to go by, like I did, before discovering its vitality and importance in the artistic life of Santa Rosa. My first deep encounter was at the Ansel Adams event last June. The museum next presents “Richard Shaw: Four Decades of Ceramics” Jan 30-May 20, 425 Seventh St. SR.

Did you know that you can attend the 2PM Saturday afternoon rehearsals of the Santa Rosa Symphony’s weekend of concerts at the Wells Fargo Center for only $10?
I plan to attend one this coming Sat-Jan 24, that features Joann Falletta, conductor in an all-American composer program. I hope some of you will able to go and listen, too.

On our next sunshine day (and yes, we will be in the light, again!) take a stroll along the Santa Rosa Creek walk/bike trail between Santa Rosa Ave. and Railroad Square, and experience the breathtaking mural art projects that now cover the concrete embankments. They are beautiful and joyous to see!

In Memoriam: Anne Marie Joergenson, 1938-2010
She was a very respected art therapist, who worked with abused/at risk children and was active for many years with Becoming Independent, a non-profit agency that assists people with disabilities. I regret that I never had a chance to meet her.

Years ago, in New York State, as a public school music teacher, we were searching for a distinctive title for a multi cultural concert my fifth and sixth graders were producing. I discovered a wonderful Haitian word: BAMBOUCHE, meaning a festive get together. I cannot sign off without saying how deeply I hope for the Haitians’ strength and the true success of the rescue mission so that they may once again have Bambouche in their families and in their lives

I know the Santa Rosa spirit will infect you and I look forward to hearing from our readers.