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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

Spirit of Santa Rosa by Nina Tepedino

Spring has come,
My favorite time of year,
Birds all sing, bees all buzz,
Everybody's dancing...'cause

The Politics of Spring
In the neighborhoods of Santa Rosa, there are signs of winter's departure. As I write the acacia is ready to pop, the tulip magnolias are bursting forth and the lilacs even have buds. So many signs and sights to report. The spirit of Spring is knocking at our consciousness.....opening our hearts. There are sounds of sadness, too, in the Santa Rosa environs....sadness about no Spring sports programs, librarians and libraries cut, the medical marajuana dispensary voted down, the SMART rail route still being deliberated (hopefully in our favor!) and the rumblings about a new courthouse site in the downtown area. All this does not calm the human spirit. These are not new sprouts of progress. Where are our priorities? Are our passions so mis-led, that we can challenge the spirit of our people....our children? How can we let economics do this? The budgets rule our quality of life. Our politicians and local boards need to create some novel and effective ways to replenish the accounts, don't you think? I would like to thank Schools Plus for their continued commitment to help our schools.

How Green is Our Valley?
Well, according to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, we seem to be the Chosen Spot ( a term used by Luther Burbank and just this past week in our local PD editorial, too) This indeed is a happy gift. To be listed as number 5 and one of the healthiest areas to live in the state of California and to be so high on a national list, is welcome news. I am very happy about where I live, too. I did know why and now it is official. So, lets enjoy being happy and healthy. It will give us the energy to do good works and make the right decisions. By the way, I need to thank the Press Democrat for doing a fine job of reporting our local news. It comes to my apartment door every morning and certainly inspires my own reporting.

Events to Celebrate
Our local Santa Rosa electric car company, ZAP, has won a contract to build an experimental battery-powered mail van for the US Postal Service. Hurray!

Try to include the Year of the Tiger in your festivities in the coming weeks.too.

St. Patrick's Day is coming and if you wear your green, a lepracaun will do a dance, the best your've ever seen!! If you have Irish roots and have always wanted to know the Gaelic language of Ireland, there is a teacher named Kathleen here in SR. You can find out more by calling 526-0177.

Try to take those walks along the valley's streams, which have come alive again and don't give up saving and improving our wonderful parks. Right? Try not to forget our Fair Trade Stores and to support our local banks and Credit Unions, too.

We need to celebrate the news about Food Stamps being accepted at our Farmer's Markets. Yes! A very important development for our struggling young families who are really beginning to change eating habits and live healthier lives!

Parking Meters
If you are not an avid walker, like I am, and you need to have a car to take advantage of all the events and sites that I recommend, you will be happy to know that some changes are a foot!! The City of Santa Rosa is holding a series of meetings to seek input on parking policy in SR, including ways that parking policies can be improved. The next two meetings are Weds Feb 24 and Mar 10 at 10:30 AM to noon in the Central Library, 3rd and E Sts, SR (where parking your car can be tricky, esp if you don't have quarters with you!!) Bring your ideas.

The iGROW Campaign
The Sonoma County Department of Human Services, Santa Rosa office is launching a very special project to support local community gardens, backyard gardens, school and church gardens. This GO-LOCAL movement is to encourage the formation of gardens for fresh produce. Ellen Bauer is the Health Program Manager. She and I take noon walks together, so I will always have the inside scoop. This issue has more info and the recent press release, as well. Watch for more developments and activities. Another event to celebrate!

Congratulations Are in Order
Yesterday, I attended the opening art exhibition and reception at the Finley Community Center, the City of Santa Rosa Recreation and Parks Department hosted in conjuction with the National Arts Program. This was the 7th annual program and competition, to provide SR artists with an opportunity to showcase their artistic accomplishments and encourage artistic growth with $4,000 in scholarships and awards. Our mayor, Susan Gorin was there to present the awards and speak about the importance of this event. I want to congratulate Tara Matheny-Schuster, Arts Coordinator and her staff, for a remarkable and beautifully organized event. I so enjoyed meeting all the youth and adult artists and viewing the multiple use of various medias that were represented. If you have never been to the Finley Community Center, please stop and visit this impressive venue that our parks and rec department has created for public enrichment and the cultural arts. Don't miss this exhibit.

A Reminder........don't forget the Santa Rosa Junior College Planatarium. The current and new show,"Mars to Saturn, Cancer to Virgo" is at 7 and 8:30 pm from Feb 26 to March 28 at 1501 Mendocino Ave. I definitely plan to visit with the night sky...soon.

In Memoriam
All those who have lost their lives or have suffered grave injuries at the pedestrian crosswalks in our city and our county.

Howard Zinn (1922-2010) "Join a peace organization!", he said, just two months ago in a speech at Boston U. His activist voice will be very missed. You can join our very own Peace and Justice Center here in SR on Sebastopol Ave., as an action in his memory. The center is celebrating its 25th year. Check out its schedule of monthly events.

As you till the soil and choose your plants, may the PEACE illuminate your hearts.