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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

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

WalMart Expansion Appeal in Rohnert Park

Wal-Mart Super Center 
Appeals Rohnert Park Rejection
Hearing set for July 29th

People are gathering at the Rohnert Park City Council hearing on Thursday, July 29th (6 pm at City Hall, 130 Avram Ave., Rohnert Park,) to protest Wal-Mart's appeal of the council's previous rejection to build a Super Center in their community.

This expansion of their existing retail store will bring food products to customers. The City Council rejected the expansion on the grounds that it does not fit into their current General Plan. Others reject it because Wal-Mart does not support living wage standards, and this expansion has the potential to harm locally owned grocery businesses.

If you feel yo need to know more background information in order to form an opinion on this...please visit:

to send your OPINION to Rohnert Park City Council members:

Rohnert Park City Council
c/o City Hall
130 Avram Avenue
Rohnert Park, CA 94928

Fax: [707] 588-2263
or Email care of Beth Lidster at

City Council Contact Information:
Gina Belforte, Vice Mayor
Phone: (707) 588-2226
Fax: (707) 792-1876

Pam Stafford, Mayor
Fax (office): (707) 792-1876

Amie Breeze,
Telephone: (707) 217-3795

Joe Callinan
Phone (office): (707) 588-2226
Fax: (707) 792-1876

Jake Mackenzie
Phone (home office): (707) 584-1195
Fax (office): (707) 792-1876


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Monday, July 26, 2010

Santa Rosa Arts District

Sonoma County is home to artists from all over this planet. It's one of the most outstanding aspects of living here - beyond the beauty of our landscape and climate! Here is a link to the Santa Rosa Arts District - that also lets you sign up for information on a wide variety of topics that pertain to living in our central city - Santa Rosa. So much to learn - so much to do....

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

CARNE CRUDA at Cloverdale's Friday Night Live


The world’s premier Post-Latin band! Carne Cruda will be in concert on July 16 at Cloverdale’s Friday Night Live

Raw and ready to rock, Carne Cruda hits the scene with the unbridled energy of the rowdiest Latin music. Blending Surf with Cumbia, Son with Soca, and traditional with indie, their exemplary musicianship is melded with high energy, unbridled enthusiasm, youthful vigor to produce an exciting, captivating show that leaves no butt un-shaken. This funky Latin Surf band is high energy, great to watch and even better to dance to. With lyrics that reflect current issues facing today’s youth in English and Spanish, Carne Cruda combines socially relevant themes with interesting musical statements.
One thing for sure for Friday Night Live fans, it will be party time with Carne Cruda and its booty-shaking Latin and Caribbean music.

Friday Night Live festivities begin at 6:30 p.m. and include the Cloverdale Certified Farmers Market with fresh local produce, arts, crafts and food, or sample local restaurants offering early bird and late night specials. Arrive early for limited seating or bring your own lawn chair. Craft beer, local wines, non-alcoholic beverages are available for purchase. Friday Night Live respectfully asks that you help us comply with the conditions of our ABC permit by not bringing outside alcoholic beverages to the concerts and disposing of any alcoholic beverages purchased at the shows before you leave.

Friday Night Live is produced by the Cloverdale Arts Alliance with underwriting support from the City of Cloverdale and a number of generous local businesses and winery sponsors. The Carne Cruda concert is underwritten in part by Reuser Inc. Winery sponsor is Mirassou Winery. Major sponsors for the 2010 series are Furber Development, A & M Satellite/Dish Network, Lagunitas Brewing Company/Miller Lite, Redwood Credit Union and Real Goods Solar. Media Sponsors are Cloverdale Reveille, KRCB-FM and KZST-FM.

Out-of-town visitors can receive a lodging discount by calling Historic Inns of Cloverdale at (800) 894-1737 and mentioning Friday Night Live. 

For more information visit or call (707) 894-4410, or


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Dry Farming: Boosting the Bottom Line

Dry Farming: Boosting the Bottom Line

Community Alliance with Family Farmers, a nonprofit 501 (C) organization,  is sponsoring a dry farming workshop as one option for using less water, at Will Bucklin's Old Hill Ranch on July 28th. We have still have seats available.

Spend the morning of July 28th, 8:30am to 11:30am learning the history, techniques and tools of dryfarming grapes in Sonoma County.

Join Will Bucklin in his 158 year old vineyard, Bucklin Old Hill ranch, with 26 varieties of grapes along with Joe Votek of Loma del Sol on Sonoma Mountain. Dave Runsten, CAFF’s policy director, will introduce the Ag Water Stewardship Initiative resource Center. Topics to include: tillage, cover crops, water use, root stock, composting and more.

Bring your questions and comfortable shoes for an informative day in the fields. Space is limited, please RSVP by July 26th to:

Refreshments served. $20 per person/$10 for CAFF members. Directions will be sent with confirmation.

Will’s Old hill ranch was the first vineyard in Glenn Ellen (1856). Their first vintage in 1866 put California and zinfandel on the map. He will be joined by Joe Votek to discuss hillside dry farm techniques. Both growers have lost little in tonnage, using these cost effective practices. This is not the only solution to our current water problems, but it will give you alternatives to turning on the tap.

Reservations: Janus

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Monday, July 12, 2010

Coastal Prairie in Bodega Bay Marine Reserve

Below is a web link to another great
KQED “perspective” from Michael Ellis 
passed along from Brock Dolman
of the Occidental Arts & Ecology Center.

If we don’t collectively better understand & implement the right kinds of disturbance regimes (grazing, mowing, fire, combo, re-seeding w/ natives, other??, etc...), in tandem with the optimum levels of intensity and frequency custom to each unique grassland setting, then we’ll surely continue to lose our wonderful native prairies.

‘Undergrazing’ can be as eco-egregious as ‘over-grazing’. Simply ‘pulling & fencing out the offending cows off’ these disturbance dependent &  highly invaded eco-systems so that “nature will heal itself” and they can become “wilderness again” is a sure prescription for their extinction!

Succession is dynamic change, and if ‘change is the only constant’, it is clear that our our landscapes are constantly changing – for better or worse. The challenge is to move from eco-illiterate degenerative disturbance regimes into eco-efficacious regenerative disturbance regimes!

Thankfully in our Sonoma/Marin area we have some exciting efforts towards Native Prairie recovery going on via our Sonoma Marin Coastal Prairie Working Group, therefore along with many other efforts...

Have a look at these proceeding from our 2006 workshop at Bodega Marine Lab:

- and this Short Brochure:

Here is a short description found on the SSU Field Station website:
Coastal Prairie Enhancement Feasibility Study
Coastal grasslands are some of the least well-known and least protected of California's plant communities. The Coastal Prairie Enhancement Study will prepare educational materials, undertake new approaches to grassland mapping, and target the control of velvet grass (Holcus lanatus) at five sites in Sonoma and Marin counties. The SSU Preserves are assisting in the development of coastal grassland education materials.

The Sonoma Land Trust has a number of interesting projects in the works or in the planning stages at many of their properties, such their Estero Americano, Jenner Headlands and Pitkin Marsh Preserves with their knowledgeable Stewardship Project Managers - Tony Nelson &  Shanti Wright!!

Here is a link to the pdf for a wonderful resource guide book called: Grazing Handbook: A Guide for Resource Managers in Coastal California. Both Sotoyome and Gold Ridge RCD’s have copies of this guide, if you want a printed hardcopy.

Thankfully we have a number of rangeland ranchers & Grass-Fed Meat producers that understand many of these ideas and are using their animals to both produce better habitat while providing food and economic viability. Some are still not and many grasslands and not being managing at all as they slowly smother under the thatch of invasive! So what are you gonna do about it?

Check out the Marin Carbon Project:

Check out the work down in Santa Cruz &  Monterrey Counties with their Rangeland Coalition:

For a vision of the historical context of what has been lost certainly get a copy of and read - M. Kat Anderson’s amazing book Tending the Wild: Native American Knowledge and the Management of California's Natural Resources!

Too many projects to keep listing – but hopefully folks will see that we can participate in the recovery of our once majestic ‘evergreen’ and kaleidoscopically colorful grasslands!

From my ‘perspective!

Fri, Jul 9, 2010 -- 7:35 AM

How Our Hills Got Golden
Every year as the rains end and the grasses turn, California hills take on their golden character. But it wasn't always this way. Naturalist Michael Ellis explains why.

By Michael Ellis

When I'm out hiking this time of year I am constantly reminded, especially as I look at the golden hills of California, of how much the landscape has been altered since the Europeans first arrived in the New World.

Five hundred years ago, the sunny, baked hills above Livermore would have been greenish, not yellow. Perennial bunch grasses with taproots penetrating down 18 feet took full advantage of permanent groundwater. And the plants would continue to photosynthesize throughout the extended drought of our Mediterranean climate, maintaining their vibrant living color until the first invigorating rains of the autumn arrived.

Grazing animals certainly existed here 20,000 years ago, and impacted the grasslands. There would have been mastodons, giant ground sloths, as well as modern animals such as tule elk, pronghorn, and black tailed deer. When the Native Americans arrived, they also encouraged the grassland by periodically burning it. Grass has evolved to not only tolerate but often thrives under continued grazing and periodic fire.

Agronomists suspect that some of our native grasses regularly live to 200 years, and perhaps as long as 1,000 years!

The most significant change in California's biodiversity was the transformation of these bunchgrass-dominated ecosystems to the near total replacement by Eurasian annual grasses. The Spaniards brought horses, cattle, sheep and their attendant European barnyard weeds into California in the late 1700s. These aggressive, non-native, annual grasses could germinate, flower and fruit in the short growing season -- and were already adapted to the heavy grazing of domesticated animals.

Wherever livestock was introduced, the new grasses quickly out-competed and replaced the perennials in an incredibly short period of time. This occurred so rapidly that there were basically no scientifically trained witnesses to record the startling conversion.

Ninety-nine percent of the native grasses in California are gone. California’s early settlers transformed this place in so many ways -- culturally, economically, ethnically -- and they even gave us our golden hills.

This is Michael Ellis with the Perspective.

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Solidarity with Arizona - Humane Immigration Reform March

Sonoma County Youth Organize to 
Oppose Arizona’s Immigration Bill
Protest March to Be Held on 
July 29th in Petaluma

Youth community organizers from the groups IMPACT! and MEChA (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan) are responding to the recent immigration bill passed in Arizona, SB1070, with a series of activities throughout the summer aimed at educating the community about immigration and building support to repeal the Arizona law and create a “just and humane immigration reform.” These activities include: holding house meetings with the community to discuss immigration, outreach to local businesses to support a boycott of Arizona products, introducing resolutions at the city level to express opposition to Arizona’s bill and support for immigrants’ rights, and a “March for Human Rights” protest on July 29th in Petaluma, the day SB1070 goes into effect.

Taking the lead from immigrant organizers in Arizona who are organizing similar efforts this summer, local youth activists are naming this project “Human Rights Summer,” inspired by the historic Freedom Summer of 1964 which was part of the student-led movement for Civil Rights in the South.

“Laws like SB1070 are not unique to Arizona,” says Sabina Ahmed, a member of IMPACT! “Policies like ‘Secure Communities,’ which Sonoma County has adopted, and 287(g) agreements, take away constitutional rights from immigrants and lead to racial profiling. As students and young people, we oppose all laws that violate civil and human rights.”

Organizers also hope to use Human Rights Summer to build support for ongoing local efforts for migrant justice, including campaigns to stop the impounding of immigrants’ vehicles and the separation of immigrant families, and draw connections between the situation in Arizona and what is happening in Sonoma County.

“I was very proud of the leadership from Supervisors Efren Carrillo and Shirlee Zane regarding their opposition of Arizona’s SB1070,” said Petaluma City Councilwoman, Tiffany Renee. “Assigning immigration responsibilities to local authorities compromises their ability to do their jobs. Detaining people based on suspicions of national origin is reminiscent of 1930s Germany.”

The “March for Human Rights” begins at 6pm on Thursday, July 29th, at McDowell park, off of Park Ln., between Maria Dr. and McGregor Ave. The march will be permitted and peaceful.

*For more information, go to

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Thursday, July 1, 2010

WINE BANTER: Wine & Cheese & More by John Haggard

Wine &  Cheese &  More

Summer is here, full swing. It’s time to enjoy Sonoma wine country and all it has to offer. Whether you are planning a perfect picnic, just the right appetizer to enjoy on the dock by the River or a delightful ending to a meal to share with friends, here are some suggestions that may help you put some wonderful wines and cheese together.

Oftentimes when a guest is in my store, they ask me to pick a wine then find a cheese to go with it. After years of pairing cheese and wine, I have to admit, it is much easier for me to pick the wine after my guest has selected a cheese – so I do tend to ask “what cheese are your going to be eating”, in order to make a more appropriate wine selection.

Let’s start with blue:

The classic pairing for blue cheese is a vintage port. On its own, rich black fruit flavors in port and a salty blue-veined blue cheese are a perfect pairing. Our local Point Reyes Blue will certainly pair well with a vintage port, however, it will also pair well with many local Zinfandels. CP Monopole Zinfandel Mengale Vineyard, Alexander Valley 2006 (ret $34-37) is a perfect example. This is a higher-alcohol zinfandel made in the style of pinot noir. The red fruit mingles nicely with the oak and integrates the alcohol very nicely. Christina Pällmann, the winemaker and owner of CP Monopole, worked with Michel Rolland at Le Bon Pasteur in Bordeaux, where she learned critical lessons in vineyard and winemaking decisions. Christina then went to Burgundy to work at Domaine Dujac for winemaker Jacques Seysses, working with Pinot Noir – perhaps, hence, the pinot noir influence on this Zinfandel.

Aged Goats Milk:

Sonoma and Mendocino Countys are known for their artisan Goats Milk Cheesemakers. An aged goats milk such as redwood hill farm’s “Crottin” pairs deliciously with a Hook and Ladder Gewurztraminer 2008 (ret $15) or a French Vouvray such as Domaine Le Peu de la Moriette 2008 (ret $17) which has a little demi-sec (semi-sweet) but finishes dry and an abundance of minerality.

Fresh Chevre

When it come to “Fresh Chevre”, one of my favorites is “Purple Haze” from Cypress Grove in Mendocino. Known for the “Humboldt Fog”, Cypress Grove has become a leading artisan goat cheesemaker in the US. The “Purple Haze” chevre, however, doesn’t reveal the true flavor of the pollen (from Lavender and Fennel) until it melts leaving a subtle lemon zest quality on the palate. Spread on a baguette with smoked salmon or tossed onto your favorite green salad, this chevre is a delicious fresh goats milk cheese that should be paired with a crisp dry Sauvignon Blanc such as Puerto Viejo Sauvignon Blanc from Chile 2009 (ret $9) or a stainless steel chardonnay such as Balletto’s Teresa’s chardonnay from 2007 (ret $15).

Salami / Salumi?

A lovely piece to the picnic or appetizer can be a salami. Fra' Mani Handcrafted Salumi, based in Berkeley, California, was founded by nationally-recognized chef Paul Bertolli. The culmination of Bertolli's zeal for authentic handcrafted food, Fra' Mani brings the art of traditional Italian salumi to America's discriminating palates. Fra’mani Dry Salami –(Piccante) – will pair with pinot grigio from Moshin and the Chorizo is a perfect complement to Harvest Moon’s RandyZin 2008 Zinfandel from Russian River Valley (ret $20-$22).

Triple Creme

Cowgirl Mt Tam - a great rich buttery organic triple cream brie makes a great pairing with big, dry, even oaky Zinfandels with lots of spice. A Sonoma Zinfandel perfect for Cowgirl’s Mt Tam’s rich buttery flavors is the Marcucci 2006 Zinfandel Russian River Valley (ret $30) or Hayman Hill Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel 2007 (ret $13 ). However, “Red Hawk” from Cowgirl Creamery - Cowgirl’s special select cheese washed in a Brine Solution (in a French Tradition) is really deserving of a more lean, dry austere red like a malbec such as a Dante Robino 2008 (ret $14.99) from Mendoza, Argentina.

John Haggard is owner of Sophie’s Cellars, The Sonoma Wine & Cheese Market in Monte Rio, California. Sophie’s Cellars is open 11am – 7pm, closed only on Wednesdays.


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