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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

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Our Kids, Our Schools

The Healdsburg Boys and Girls Club hosted their first annual Youth of the Year Awards this past week. Local families turned out to support more than a dozen Club Members who were honored for their excellence in leadership, art and academics. The Club has been going through an incredible transformation over the last couple of years; it is really exciting to see a growing student population joining the Club along with a new set of parents who are becoming involved in this wonderful community institution.

The budget situation is difficult all throughout the County, and Healdsburg schools are feeling tremendous pain since the State has cut $18 billion from public education over the past 24 months. As a former school board member, I find it extremely frustrating that our schools consistently seem to be on the losing end of Sacramento’s budget priority list. The Healdsburg Unified School District is facing a $2.3 million dollar short fall this coming year and the Board is beginning to consider potential reductions (these are difficult decisions for all involved). Cuts being considered include the summer school program, adult education, instructional days and numerous teaching and administrative positions. It’s time we all start to speak up to ensure our local public schools have the tools and the funding they need to thrive.

Expanded Community Gardens Take Bloom
Thanks to the generosity of the Healdsburg community, we have raised enough funding to expand our community gardens (over $16,000 has been brought in over the last several weeks). Healdsburg’s first community gardens were planted 3 decades ago and the demand continues to grow. I have been proud to co-chair the expansion efforts of our gardens and we will be breaking ground on the new plots, located on the Healdsburg Community Center campus, in the next 4 weeks!

Festivals, Fairs & Fun
It’s been another busy month of delicious crab feeds for good causes including those hosted by the Russian River Rotary Club and the Sonoma County Democratic Party. The Cloverdale Citrus Fair and Parade was a great success, as was the Wild Steelhead Festival in Healdsburg. I’m looking forward to participating in these again next year.

Probably too late to get tickets to the 2010 Mr. Healdsburg Contest at the Raven Theater, on February 27, but looks like this should be another fun event (and a good cause, raising money for the Theater).

Congratulations to Cloverdale
Kudos to the Cloverdale City Council and Mayor Carol Russell as they prepare to adopt a new city plan, centered around the planned return of rail service and development of a “greenway.” The only way to revitalize our cities is to focus on transit-centered development, affordable housing and open space development.

Happenings in Healdsburg
Wednesday, March 3 is the Healdsburg Chamber Business Trade Show. This free event at the Villa Chanticleer from 5 to 7 PM, and is a great way to meet with all of the local businesses that support our county. This is always a fun event, with lots of samples, food and prizes.

Healdsburg is one of the few towns with two parades a year. Most people know about our great, family focused FFA Twilight parade every May. Our lesser known parade happens on St. Patrick’s Day, with a vibrant crew leading an early morning parade from the B & B Lounge to the Downtown Plaza and back, with a stop for an incredible version of “Oh Danny Boy,” complete with bagpipes! Truly one day where everyone can be Irish (and by the way, the green beer starts flowing several hours before the parade kicks off).

We are heading into the season of wine events, but the Pigs and Pinot Festival on March 19 and 20th at the Hotel Healdsburg is special, with proceeds going to Healdsburg Schools. The money is also used for the Share Our Strength Charity, whose goal is to end child hunger in America. As they say, “a hungry child can’t learn, : and it’s crucial that we support programs like this. We are lucky that our county is ahead of the curve, with its Safe Routes to School, and Healthy Students, and Healthy Kids initiatives.

Finally, that same weekend through Sunday, March 21, Healdsburg will be having a Downtown Sidewalk sale. The plaza is always a great place to come and relax and soak up some local charm – so come support our local merchants, and get great deals at the same time.

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