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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, November 30, 2010

Product Stewardship endorsed by Sonoma County

SHARE Responsibility 
for Products
Waste, toxics reduction will protect taxpayers and ratepayers

Last month, the Cloverdale City Council adopted a resolution supporting Product Stewardship, making Sonoma the first county in California in which all of the incorporated cities, the county board of supervisors and the Sonoma County Waste Management Agency (SCWMA) have formally supported Product Stewardship policy. Product Stewardship is a policy approach that requires product manufacturers to share in the responsibility for end-of-life management for the products they produce.

Cloverdale was the 108th local government to pass a resolution in support of product stewardship, including neighboring counties of Napa, Marin and Mendocino and cities statewide including Roseville, Eureka, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Burbank, as well as national organizations including the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and statewide organizations including the California League of Cities, the Regional Council of Rural Counties - all calling for product stewardship legislation. For a full list of supporting jurisdictions, go to .

Sonoma County spends more than $100,000 each month managing household hazardous waste (HHW) generated by residents of Cotati, Cloverdale, Healdsburg, Petaluma, Rohnert Park, Santa Rosa, Sebastopol, Sonoma, Windsor and the unincorporated County. Sonoma County, like many counties in California, struggles to balance the increase in demand for products banned from landfills against falling HHW operating budgets.

Although the State of California has banned hazardous and problematic products from disposal such as household batteries, fluorescent lamps, paint and sharps (needles and lancets) from landfills, there is no sustainably funded collection system for these products. Ultimately, that means costs have been externalized onto taxpayers and ratepayers to manage these products.

Product Stewardship uses the free market forces to incentivize producers to fully fund management of their products and packaging waste by designing more durable, less toxic products that are easier to repair and recycle. When producers develop, fund and manage “take-back” programs, they can achieve economies of scale that reduce recycling costs and ensure that products are managed from “cradle to cradle” versus “cradle to grave,” with no additional cost charged to manage the product at end-of-life.

The California Product Stewardship Council is a not-for-profit, non government agency dedicated to shifting California’s product waste management system from one focused on government funded and ratepayer financed waste diversion to one that relies on producer responsibility. CPSC is working toward this goal to reduce public costs and drive improvements in product design.

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Child Care SAVED for Working Parents!

Landmark settlement saves 
child care for thousands

Alameda County Superior Court Judge Wynne Carvill approved a groundbreaking settlement in November which preserves child care services for the families of more than 56,000 California children. These services are for working parents who have transitioned off welfare but whose wages are still too low to cover child care.

The settlement came in a lawsuit filed by Parent Voices, Oakland and four California mothers who were told that their child care assistance, known as CalWORKs Stage 3 child care, would end on November 1. In a last-minute veto, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger cut that entire program from the budget, creating havoc for thousands of people who were suddenly forced to choose between keeping their jobs and staying off welfare or taking care of their children.

On October 29, Judge Carvill issued an emergency order halting the governor’s veto. A few days later, e modified his order to require the state to continue Stage 3 child care and to use its “best efforts” to screen parents for alternative childcare services. This settlement extends the Stage 3 program through December 31, 2010 and requires state-contracted child care agencies to inform families of their right to request a screening for any available child care alternatives.

Through the settlement the California Department of Education agreed to a process that allows any Stage 3 family who asks to be screened before December 10 to be considered for other available child care. 

Under the terms of the settlement, the families cut off from child care by the Governor’s veto retain the right to return to the Stage 3 program if funding is restored. Pressure remains on the Legislature and the new Governor to enact a permanent solution.


Child Care
keeps parents earning & children learning

By Carol Simmons
Coordinator, Child Care Planning Council of Sonoma County
Sonoma County families face challenges in rearing children to be healthy, productive citizens and members of the workforce. As an extremely high cost-of-living county, child care costs can be prohibitive, consuming 25% to 34% of families’ budgets, but we are not unique in
this problem.

A report recently released by the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies, “Parents and The High Cost of Child Care: 2010 Update” found that:
• The average center-based child care fees for an infant exceeded the average annual amount that families spent on food in every region of the United States.
• Monthly child care fees for two children at any age exceeded the median monthly rent cost, and were nearly as high, or even higher than, the average monthly mortgage payment in every state.
• In 40 states, the average annual cost for center-based care for an infant was higher than a year’s tuition and related fees at a four-year public college.
• California is one of the 10 least-affordable states for full-time infant care in a center, based on the cost of child care as a percentage of the state median income for a two-parent family.

We all rely on public structures to support and build a stronger community, including libraries, schools, etc. We also have a very effective system that works to promote family economic security through accessible and affordable child care, although it is severely under-funded. Subsidized child care allows families to work or be in training, and to make significant progress toward self-sufficiency.

A local single mother of an 8-month old began receiving subsidized child care and has been able to drastically change her life. The mother was divorced, and had very little job experience. Upon enrolling in the subsidized child care program, she was referred to JobLink – a county-operated one-stop job service center that links potential employees with employers, and provides job readiness and job search training and support. Through using these services, she was able to obtain employment at a local resort and has worked her way up to head housekeeper.

Throughout this time, the state was able to reimburse her child care provider because she was making less than 75% of the state median income. If she were not eligible for reimbursement, it would not have been cost-effective for her to work as the child care costs would have used up most of her salary.
Now, three years later, the mother’s income is more stable; she has a good work record and therefore has more employment options. She continues to receive child care reimbursements, with a share of cost based on her income level.

The baby has been under the care of a child care provider who understands child development and works with the children in her care to prepare them for kindergarten. The child care provider does this through play activities that stimulate and encourage brain development.

This mom has a lot of confidence in her future, and now is very hopeful for the future of her child.
Providing support so that the youngest citizens of Sonoma County grow up safe, secure, well cared for and well-educated is the wisest, most cost-effective investment we can make as a community. Be a voice for the children and future of Sonoma County, by advocating for investments in accessible, high-quality child care and early educational services for all!

For more information about child care and development issues in Sonoma County, please see the Child Care Planning Council website:

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LETTERS to the Editor - Sonoma County Gazette November 2010

Dear Vesta,
Once again, a great issue! Your theme for the month re: animals was inspired and brilliant and so very important - thank you! You are making me think of the earlier role that community newspapers played, before trying to compete with TV and lost sight of their position of education and influence, earned by their integrity and fair mindedness. Good on ya!
Mary Luttrell


Dear Vesta,
Thank you for featuring local Animal Welfare and Rescue Organizations in the latest issue of the Gazette. As the president of one of those Non-Profit Organizations, we appreciate the coverage and dissemination of information to the public.

Please visit our website,, for more about our organization and about all the Animal Shelters in Sonoma County that we support.

For Current Spay/Neuter Programs & Events Available to North Bay Residents call: (707) 579-SPAY.
Ann Strom
President, FAIRE
(Friends of the Animals in the Redwood Empire)


Dear Vesta,
I enjoyed Martin Bennett’s well thought out article about the proposed Wal-Mart store in Rohnert Park. The community would truly be wise to reject these proposals for they do not bring prosperity to neighborhoods.

But one point of Mr. Bennett’s needs correcting: development in Sonoma County is not inevitable. Although the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) does say that the population will grow, ABAG is a pro-Builder’s group with the job of convincing the rest of us that population growth is inevitable. If you read any population projection, from the California Department of Water Resources to the United Nations, you will see that they all note that the projections depend on future trends, and they offer high, medium and low outcomes. We can choose the low-population outcome. If we do not allow the building that ABAG promotes, then the population will not grow.

Sonoma County is a beautiful region. Adding more people will not increase the benefits of living here. More traffic, more congestion, less open space, fewer farms and ranches, higher taxes, more crowded schools and urbanized living are not most of us want for our County.
Searle Whitney


The other day I was surprised to receive a call from someone who had read my article . . . in the Gazette! Thank you very much for making that happen. I hope your readers will find it informative.

However, the person that called was looking for clarification on a point I made. In following up on her question I discovered that apparently my original article was printed and not the corrected version I sent you 10/23. It’s nothing horrible, but the omission is definitely misleading. At the end of the article, under 2011 Highlights, the first point made about medicines should read:
Starting January 1, 2011 expenses for medicines or drugs will qualify as tax-free and reimbursable by an employer-provided health plan, including an FSA, HRA or HSA, only if:
- the medicine or drug requires a prescription;
- is an over-the-counter medicine or drug and the individual obtains a prescription; or is insulin.
Things are bit in flux at the moment as far as what will be available for consumers come 1/1/11. I’ll send you something when I know more.

Again, I really appreciate you printing this in the paper.
Bill Hannant


Hi Vesta,
Thanks for alerting me to something neither myself or neighbors knew or have even been informed about.

I am part of Veterans Village Regional. Last year the same people who were against housing our American Heroes – newly returned Iraqi and Afghanistan veterans (OIF/OEF vets) on Drake Road are now helping with a proposal to have formerly homeless housed on Drake Road through Community Housing Sonoma County.

This is truly amazing since our president, Nadia McCaffrey, whose son died in combat service in Iraq, was treated very badly by these same neighbors, one who collaborates directly with Community Housing – the same ones who were afraid of having young, newly returned heroes in their area.

All veterans services in the area will start working on this issue immediately.
Yes, Community Housing is doing a Veterans project in Santa Rosa, which I am sure will be brought up-it is NOT for newly returned veterans as was the possible Guerneville site-but that has nothing to do with a narrow and rural area like Drake Road. Having many families with children in such a small area is ridiculous!!!
We are not zoned for multifamily units-it is enough with the many vacation rentals we are surrounded by.

Let’s try to help our newly returned vets have someplace in the redwoods to relax.
Marcy Orosco, MSW


Dear Editor,
I have been meaning to write you a while to respond to the person in Graton who believes Graton is the only fire station with a siren.

I live between Hessel and Gold Ridge fire stations and I frequently hear the sirens from both of them.

When I hear them, I know that some member of our community is in need of help; and I also know that help is on the way. It is a very comforting sound.

I am reminded of the person who moved in next to the rural person with a rooster and then complained about the rooster crowing and threatened to sue her.

My response to her was “Get a donkey and some geese, and give him something to really listen to.”
Nan Waters, Sebastopol

Here's a bot of interest around that subject: Don Ford of CBS NEWS picked up a copy of the Gazette and was intrigued by the number of letters in the October edition on the subject of the Graton Siren - so he came out to do a story on it - here's a link to the story... - Vesta


Good day Vesta:
My two cents on the Rockin’ Rio Nido Column:
I like it. I reside in Monte Rio now, however, did live in Rio Nido for 4 + years. I am only too familiar with the RNHA. My heart goes out to these women columnists. If you do not see eye to eye with the RNHA they gang up on you!

I read their letters AND really? Come on! I say, “Ladies, keep plugging away!” 
You have a job to do..... keep writin’...cause I’ma reading!
Natalia S.


Hi Sonoma County Gazette,
I am writing about the girls who write the Rio Nido column. I grew up in the Hacienda area of the Russian River as a child and now reside in Cazadero. I have relatives and friends in the Rio Nido area.

I’ve been reading the Rio Nido column steadily and its been decent. I have to admit, since Eliza and Elaine took it over it’s been more interesting to read and I like the modern feel to it. It’s cheery and neat to see that some of my friends and acquaintances are mentioned in a few of the columns. It’s fresh and lets me know what’s going on in the area and I LIKE THAT. WAITING in anticipation to see what’s to come in December!  
Fondly, , Sarah Norhaus


Dear Vesta,
Love, LOVE, LOVE this column. (Rockin’ Rio Nido) I read it every month! It’s raining out and Ive read the gazette from top to bottom. These women – Elizabeth & Elaina – have the “411” on this tiny community. Last I read this column it is about Rio Nido and not the RNHA. Seems to me the RNHA blew their little statement out of context and overreacted miserably. Shame on you. Feeling left out? Perhaps the RNHA Board members should have their own monthly column to give an up to snuff account on how they spend the Homeowner Assn. members yearly dues.

I walk and drive by the Pee Wee Mini Golf, picnic area etc, ....and it looks as though no MAINTENANCE has been performed in over A DECADE! Put your egos aside and give these ladies a break...they are doing a fantastic job reporting the important & community minded issues that matter to us and go on here in this Village.
Darla G.


Hello Gazette:
I am writing to you because this column (Rockin’ Rio Nido) really speaks to me. I am a 15 year resident of Rio Nido and up until recently I’ve had no interest in this column. These ladies cover “everything and then some” that goes on in this small wooded town. I am an artist and rarely get out much, but have to say I enjoy finding out what happens!

In response to the Homeowners Assn. feedback in the front of your paper, it’s a sad shame they feel they need to posture themselves when all these ladies have done was praise their Association in past articles that I have read. Perhaps they are feeling guilt for not doing their share? To be truthful, the Homeowners’ grounds look worn, dilapidated and in need of some serious TLC. Maintenance? Uh......well, that’s another chapter in this saga! Enuff said! Sometimes the truth hurts......Ladies, keep on truckin! You ROCK!


Hello all:
We at the Occidental Bohemian Farmers Market (OBFM) are writing to correct disinformation that is being circulated regarding our farmers market and a new market in operation at the Occidental Community Center.

The Occidental Bohemian Farmers Market is a non-profit registered with the State of California and a 501(c)6 registered with the IRS, and has been in operation in Occidental for the last 9 years. It had humble beginnings in 2002, but has since blossomed into a thriving market hosting small local farmers, meat producers, artisan food preparers, and area craftspeople. We regularly host 500+ people on Friday evenings in Occidental, June through October, and attract not only local residents, but people from all over the country. We’ve been fortunate to receive praise in nationwide publications like Sunset and Lonely Planet, as well as abundant coverage by local media outlets.

As a California Certified Farmers Market, we are required to work with the Department of Agriculture and our vendors to insure that they sell only produce they’ve grown themselves in California, or in our case, Sonoma County. This certification is designed to add value to consumers wishing to purchase food grown locally in order to reduce waste and pollution and to buoy the local economy.
It has come to our attention that a second entity is putting on another farmers market in Occidental, running year-round and also on Friday nights. We are happy to see other people promoting local agriculture, albeit at a market that’s not California Certified, and we are happier still to discover that this market is being undertaken to demonstrate use of the Occidental Community Center, as it is at risk of being shuttered due to budget concerns.

This second market has been promoting themselves as if they are associated with the OBFM-their community outreach via internet forums, paper flyers, and word of mouth has sought to capitalize on the hard-won success of the OBFM by suggesting that we have moved to the Occidental Community Center and are now operating year-round. Additionally, the market at the Community Center has, through the same channels, suggested that only their market benefits the “community,” only their market is not for profit, and that their market doesn’t exist to line the pockets of people from outside the area.

While we are hesitant to even respond to these types of inaccurate and unprofessional characterizations, they do generate ambiguity and confusion with our regulatory and area partners, as well as customers and community members. It is for that reason that we wish to state unequivocally that the market at the Occidental Community Center has no association with the OBFM and that the OBFM plans to operate our market in the same place and at the same time in our 2011 season, opening on June 3rd for our 10th year of operation. We’re looking forward to yet another year of fulfilling our mission of preserving the vital agricultural tradition of our community and connecting our community members to the food they consume.

We thank you for your attention to this matter and hope that you won’t hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have.
Occidental Bohemian Farmers
Market Board of Directors
Greg Fisher
Sherry Huss
Kim Dow


The advocates of racial hatred continue to beat their drums of fear and mistrust.
Here in Sonoma County, we witnessed this when a candidate for county supervisor decided to support “sanctuary” for undocumented immigrants. In response, a campaign mailer from the Sonoma County Alliance Political Action Committee suggested that Sonoma County would be turned into a haven for murderous immigrants who would prey upon local residents.

As Latinos involved in our community, we want to set the record straight: “o más derecho.”

As community leaders, we refuse to remain silent while our people are stigmatized and dehumanized. “Illegal immigrants” has become code for Latinos in California, and our nation. That many Latinos feel the same as we do is witnessed in our voting patterns.

Recent polls by the Pew Hispanic Center and a Democracia USA survey found that three out of four Latinos have a bad impression of the GOP, mostly because of their hard stand against immigration policy and their support of Prop 187. As proof of this, the recent election saw Democratic victories here in California, in part because of Latino voters.

Yet the anti-immigration rhetoric continues. The result? As a recent New York Times article recognized, “The nation’s largest minority (approximately 47 million) feels beleaguered by backlash from the polarized debate over immigration in the past year...”

Our county’s recent anti-“sanctuary” campaign mailer reminds us that these problems are indeed close to home.

We do not find solace in the fact that this mailer limited its attack to those who are “illegal.” We see this mailer for what it is: a hostile caricature, full of empty rhetoric. Most Latinos believe that the differentiation between “legal” and “illegal” simply serves to mask prejudice against Latinos and is a cover to fan the flames of racial intolerance. Otherwise, why would more than 6 in 10 of us say discrimination is a “major problem”?

Those who advocate for immigrant (documented or not) rights do not “protect criminals.” They speak on behalf of an overwhelmingly hard working, family-oriented, religious, and under-represented people who are seeking a better life.
That some immigrants put their lives in danger to enter the country without permission is a testimony to their desire for a viable future for themselves and their children, not proof that they are “mere criminals.”

Most Latinos understand this, and abhor the vitriol aimed at these members of our ethnic group.

The Press Democrat has acknowledged that, “As America grows more Latino; the perils of immigrant-bashing will begin to outweigh its rewards.”

That day is coming. Every year for the next 20 years, half a million Latino youths will reach voting age. These young people will remember being called “illegal” or “anchor babies” (regardless of their or their parents’ actual immigration status) because they are of Latino heritage.

Yes, within a few short years, thankfully, mailers demonizing Latinos will be a death knell for the candidate they represent. State Representatives who liken undocumented immigrants to rats, as recently happened in Tennessee, will find themselves voted out of office.

As a nation of immigrants and the ancestors of immigrants, both documented and undocumented, none of us should stand by quietly while self-serving groups, candidates, or political parties pound their hateful drums. The time has come to condemn race baiting campaign tactics, and to support comprehensive national immigration reform that provides a pathway to citizenship.

Michael Aparicio – Professor, SRJC (sympathetic partner)
Dennis Boné – Community Activist
María Cañas – PODER, Community Activist
Davin Cárdenas - Organizer, North Bay Organizing Project
Omar Gallardo – Graton Day Labor Center
Dr. Ellie Galvez-Hard - Professor, SSU
Laura González – President, Sonoma County Latino Democratic Club
Carl Jaramillo – UAW Lobbyist, Retired
Holly Jaramillo – Secretary, Sonoma County Latino Democratic Club
Dr. Ron López - Professor, SSU
Lisa Maldonado – Executive Director, North Bay Labor Council
Omar Medina
Michaele Morales – PODER, Community Activist
Abel Moya – “GANA” Grupo de Apoyo Nuevo Avance
Mujeres Unidas of Sonoma County
Tiffany Renée – Petaluma City Council Member
Alicia Román – Attorney at Law
David Rosas – Roseland Community Advocate
Alfredo Sánchez- Community Activist
Alicia Sánchez – Attorney, Union Activist
Denise Soza – Business Rep. for IBEW Local 551
Elsa Chinea Stevens
Dr. Francisco Vásquez - - Professor, SSU
Georgina Warmoth - Community Activist


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Monday, November 29, 2010

Petaluma Women Volunteer for Good Causes

I’m Krista Gawronski. Let me introduce you to the Fabulous Women of Petaluma! In 2006 I wanted to start a movement based on philanthropy and sisterhood. With kids and a full time business, I was missing my time with girlfriends. I decided to start the “Fabulous Women’s Group”. The intention of this group has always been to gather fun women together and help causes that touch our hearts.

What started off with just a few girlfriends has grown into a dynamic female force that has made a positive impact on our community. This group is made up of neighbors, girlfriends, customers, business owners, and even members our local public council. This little group that started with an intention to “give” has raised thousands of dollars for worthy causes.

Our group has helped families who have dealt with serious health problems and local organizations like COTS (Community On The Shelterless) and Mentor Me, a program that supports hundreds of local kids who are in need of adult support and friendship. We have addressed some of the silent diseases that have affected friends in our group like Cancer, Cystic Fibrosis, and Multiple Sclerosis. We have also championed the cause to help build a school in Rwanda.

Our gatherings are social. The first hour is just for chatting, and sharing appetizers and a glass of wine. Women love an outlet to share their stories and meet new friends. It’s also a great way to network. Our hostess always gets an opportunity to talk about her charity chosen for the evening. This gives everyone a chance to listen, learn, and connect to the cause. There is no pressure on the giving. Women donate whatever they are inspired to give. Who knew that such a simple concept would create such buzz?

There is definitely strength in numbers. For many, this group has given them a social and meaningful outlet. For me, it has stretched my heart to feel more gratitude. I am proud of the love and generosity of this group. I have always said that Oprah gave me the courage and inspiration to start this group.

I saw her 11 years ago at a Women’s Summit in San Francisco. She was the keynote speaker. I can remember she asked the question, “What is your gift.....and how will you make a difference?” That question motivated me to step outside my comfort zone and create something meaningful.

I recently experienced a full circle moment when Oprah invited me to her Community Heroes taping. It was wonderful validation that our group is making a positive difference in the community and in the world.

For more information about our group, please see: It highlights the causes that we have supported throughout the years. It also gives everyone the latest information about the next Fabulous Women’s event.
Thank you, Krista Gawronski

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Monday, November 15, 2010

Food Banks & Pantries of Sonoma County

By Aleta Taylor
I compiled this list off of what I could find online and through references. But it can always be added on to, so if you know of a great food bank/pantry in your area, please email as much info as you can find to, or call me at 707-887-0253. I would love to keep this list going throughout the year, since people find themselves more in need than ever. All of these organizations do wonderful things and need as much support as they can get this year. Whether you can donate food, money, or just some time, every little bit helps.

One thing I would like to mention is that, with the coming of winter, comes the harvesting of citrus. Every time I go for a walk, I see several houses with orange, lemon, and lime trees overflowing with ripening citrus. I can't imagine that those families will eat all that fruit! So if you have a neighbor or friend with surplus citrus this season, please give them this list. And to make it easy on them, I recommend the Farm To Pantry organization, where volunteer come to the home and harvest the produce themselves, then distribute it to local food banks.

Sometimes the best giving doesn't come from buying gifts for friends and family, but donating your time to the community and those in need. Consider the benefits of volunteering to help others - you will help yourself in return.

Redwood Empire Food Bank
The REFB is the largest food bank serving the North Coast of California from Petaluma to Oregon. Working with 146 other hunger relief agencies that operate 230 programs throughout the county, the REFB provides food to 70,000 Sonoma County residents each month. That number is 10,000 more a month than a year ago, the result of the economic recession’s impact on Sonoma County residents.
Recipients of REFB’s programs include 10,400 seniors, 30,000 children, and thousands of working families, the disabled, unemployed and the homeless. The REFB also is a primary resource for food pantries and other hunger relief agencies in Lake, Mendocino, Humboldt and Del Norte counties.

How to Help:
Online at, pay by credit card
Schedule a monthly giving through an automatic withdrawal from your checking account or credit card
Organize AND HOST your own food/funds drive with help and supplies from REFB
Organize donations at your workplace by contacting Connie Petty at or 707.523.7900 ext. 35

Contact Info:
3320 Industrial Dr
Santa Rosa California 95403
Phone 707.523.7900
Fax 707.523.7901
Office Hours & WIC Store Hours:
Monday thru Friday 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM

Guerneville Community Church
Also supported in part by the Catholic Church, the MCC and Salvation Army. Food pantry open the 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month at 9 am.

Contact Info:
14520 Armstrong Woods Rd
Guerneville, CA 95446
(707) 869-2514

COTS – Committee on the Shelterless

COTS offers help and hope to homeless persons in Sonoma County by providing safe shelter and housing, helping people develop steady incomes and helping them get back under a roof of their own. We help homeless families become stable and break the cycle of homelessness by teaching homeless parents to make their children's needs a high priority and to provide a safe, loving and secure home for their children.

How to Help:
Donate online by credit card at
Donate food or goods listed on their Wish List
Read about their many different volunteer opportunities, download a Volunteer Application, then fax or mail it in.

Contact Info:
P.O. Box 2744
Petaluma, California 94953
1500 Petaluma Blvd. S, #B
Petaluma Blvd, CA 94952
Fax 707-765-9043

West County Community Services

WCCS works to strengthen families in western Sonoma County. We provide opportunities, support and resources that touch the lives of youths, adults and seniors. By strengthening families we build stronger communities. WCCS operates five critical social services departments serving thousands of youth, adults, and seniors every year. The program departments include: Counseling and Prevention, Adult and Youth Employment, Russian River Senior Resource Center, After School Programs and Emergency Food & Housing Services. A unique and vibrant organization, WCCS is the only multi-services agency in the entire western Sonoma County area and we continually strive to provide focused, quality assistance that meets the needs of our local community.

How to Help:

Mail a donation check to:
West County Community Services
P. O. Box 325
Guerneville, CA 95446
Attention: Finance Department

Sign up for, COMMUNITYsmart card, and Albertson's Community Partners. When using these methods at participating stores, the merchants will donate a portion of their proceeds to the organization.

Volunteer with either food box preparation or reception by downloading the online application and emailing it to:

Contact Info:
P. O. Box 325
Guerneville, CA 95446
(707) 829-5717 voice
(707) 823-1642 fax

Saint Andrews Church
St. Andrew’s food program offers a food pantry every Tuesday 5-7pm, and a hot dinner on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of every month 5-7pm.

Contact Info:
20329 Highway 116
PO Box 721
Monte Rio, California 95472
Tel: (707) 865-0834
Fax: (707) 632-6042

Sebastopol Community Church
On Thanksgiving Day, November 25, 2010 join us in Memorial Hall as we help host the 9th Annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner. Call the church office at 823-2484 to sign up to work a 4 hour shift on either Wednesday, November 24 or Thursday, November 25. We need prep work, cooking, serving and cleanup. If you are not available to work on either of those days, another big help to the Community Thanksgiving Dinner is to donate food items or cash. Non-perishable food items can be brought to church on Sunday, November 14 & 21 (potatoes, onions, canned goods, etc.) Checks can be made out to the Community Church with a notation in the memo line: Thanksgiving Dinner.

Contact Info:
Office (707) 823-2484
Fax (707) 823-9597
1000 Gravenstein Hwy. North
P.O. Box 579
Sebastopol, CA 95473

Forestville United Methodist Church - Food Closet
The UMC sponsored the origination of the successful Victory Gardens Project in Forestville.
Contact name is Katherine Best-Smith, Phone, 523-0252 and email,

Harvest for the Hungry
Relying exclusively on volunteer labor, the Harvest for the Hungry Garden delivers organically grown produce each week to four local hunger programs: FISH of Santa Rosa; The Living Room, a drop-in center for homeless women and children; Elisha's Pantry, and Food For Thought AIDS Food Bank. Each year we harvest approximately 10,000 lbs of fresh produce (tomatoes, carrots, beets, squash, fruit, lettuce, greens, onions and garlic) all grown on a 3/4 acre lot behind Christ Church United Methodist.

How to Help:
To donate gardening supplies, organic seed, building materials, tools, or soil amendment, please call Martin at

To make a cash donation, please call
Katie at 707.575.8250.

Volunteer hours are from 9 AM to 12 noon Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday
during spring, summer, and fall. Our schedule changes seasonally, so please call before you come by, or stroll through the Garden anytime. We're open until sunset seven days a week.

Contact Info:
1717 Yulupa Avenue (Behind Christ Church United Methodist)
Santa Rosa, CA

Ceres Community Project
During 2008, more than 70 teens from a dozen area schools spent 2,250 hours in the Ceres Community Project kitchen. Working together, these remarkable young people prepared 17,300 meals for individuals and their families who are dealing with cancer and other serious illnesses. Nearly 100 adults helped harvest food, deliver meals, mentor our teen chefs and support our clients.

How to Help:
Order their products online, then pick them up at their kitchen on 330 S. Main Street in Sebastopol.
If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Volunteer Coordinator Margaret Howe at or by calling 707·829·5833 extension 2. The next volunteer orientation will be on December 15th 5:30-6:30pm.

Financial donations can be made by sending a check to
PO Box 1562
Sebastopol CA 95473
by using the PayPal link at or by calling 707·829·5833.

Contact Info:
330 S. Main Street
Sebastopol CA 95472

Interchurch Food Pantry
The Interchurch Food Pantry is located at the head of the St. Stephen's parking lot. The Pantry is open every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 10:00 AM to Noon. Please call ahead to arrange to pick up a food box.
The Pantry serves local families and individuals who may receive one box per month.

Contact Info:
500 Robinson Road
Sebastopol, CA 95472
(707) 823-3281
Pantry:707- 823-2483

Farm to Pantry
Farm to Pantry is a community of volunteers dedicated to providing fresh, healthy and affordable food to everyone. We live and glean in Sonoma County, California, where there is a growing community of farmers, gardeners, and residents dedicated to ensuring fresh and healthy food for everyone.

Garden to Pantry – Plant a garden and offer to donate any portion of your harvest to a local food pantry, shelter or soup kitchen and we will provide you with guidance, advice, and gleaning help should you need it.

Market to Pantry – At the end of the day at the Farmers’ Market, we collect unsold, surplus produce and deliver it to the local food pantry. We also happily accept donations of fresh produce --- purchased at the Farmers’ Market or home-grown.

How to Help:
Join our Gleaning Team. We glean wherever there is healthy, fresh produce to be harvested in Sonoma County. Volunteers receive an email from us when there is a gleaning opportunity in their area, typically once a week for two to three hours

Volunteer your farm, garden, orchard, or tree to be gleaned. Let us know as soon as possible that you expect to have extra fruit or vegetables and we will schedule a time for our volunteers to come to you, pick the surplus produce and then deliver it to a local food pantry for distribution to families in need.

Contact Info: to volunteer
Melita Love - Volunteer and Founder:
Rosemary Rasori - Volunteer and Project Leader:
Cathy Wilson - Volunteer and Gleaning:

Food for Thought
Food For Thought offers comprehensive nutritional services to more than 635 individuals living with HIV/AIDS in Sonoma County.

We provide:
* confidentiality
* weekly groceries
* fresh produce
* vitamins and nutritional supplements
* canned liquid protein supplements (with your doctor’s request)
* frozen meals for the very ill (with your doctor’s request)
* nutritional counseling
* cooking and nutrition classes
* support groups
* social gatherings
* delivery for the homebound
* additional food for families with dependent children
* services in English and Spanish ((Para información en español por favor llame a Erik Orav al 707-887-1647)

Contact Info:
For more information, or to apply for services, contact Rachel Gardner, Client Services Manager, at 707-887-1647,, P.O. Box 1608, Forestville, CA 95436, or stop by the food bank at 6550 Railroad Avenue in lovely downtown Forestville.
6550 Railroad Ave.,
between First and Forestville Streets
Forestville, California
Mail: P.O. Box 1608, Forestville, CA 95436
Office: (707) 887-1647
Fax: (707) 887-1440
Para información en español por favor llame a Erik Orav al 707-887-1647

Windsor Service Alliance - NEW LISTING

Food Pantry. We now have served over 10,000 Families and Seniors since our inception. On a weekly basis we have between 80-100 seniors and families coming to our doors on Friday. Seniors arrive from 2 to 2:30pm followed by Families from 2:30 to 4:00pm. We ask if it is your first time, please come after 3:00pm. Please bring a photo ID and Proof of Residency when you come.

8987 Windsor Road (Corner of Windsor River Road and Windsor Road)

Windsor Service Alliance
P.O. Box 138
Windsor, CA 95492
Phone Number:(707) 838-6947

E-mail Us:

Hours of operation:
Fridays: 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm

The Windsor Service Alliance provides temporary assistance and referral to local residents at their request and will establish a central location for the collection and dissemination of goods, services and information to match their needs. WSA will advocate for those in need through liaison with city, county, state, federal and local agencies, both public and private, and by raising the level of community awareness of, sensitivity to, and participation in the long term resolution of these issues.

Each week the WSA food pantry provides food for Windsor families and senior citizens. The WSA also has an Assistance Program whose goal is to reach those in need of monetary assistance with rent, bills, etcetera on a one time basis. The WSA has a GAS Voucher program designed to help those who may be stranded and need help with fuel.

The WSA relies on volunteers to implement their programs, particularly the food pantry.

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Health Care Reform Summarized

Health Insurance Reform Law Summarized

By Bill Hannant
On March 23rdof this year, President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law, and one week later, the Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act. Whether this new law will ultimately help or hurt you depends on whether you need help getting insurance (eventually easier) or paying for it (may become harder).

Although the new law is referred to as Health Care reform, it is primarily health insurance reform. Not a bad thing, but without seriously addressing the skyrocketing cost of health care itself, the cost of insurance, inextricably tied to the cost of health care, may increase dramatically.

The cost of this law was originally pegged at around $850 billion, but has since been adjusted by the Congressional Budget Office at $1.3 trillion – with a t - give or take a dollar or two. The bulk of the money is to come from reducing fraud and waste in the Medicare and Medicaid systems. There will also be a number of taxes and fees on insurance companies and higher income individuals, most of which will likely be passed on to the beneficiaries of the law, you.

In my mind, the heart of the legislation is that, starting in 2014, insurance companies can no longer decline to accept any individual applying for insurance, regardless of pre-existing conditions. The kicker is that this could lead to high premiums (health care is expensive) or reduced benefits (benefits must be paid for), or both. With some exceptions, everyone will have to purchase at least a minimal level of coverage or pay a fine. Sheer numbers of enrollees may help ameliorate the cost of such a mandate.

Some features of the law went into effect immediately; some after 90 days, some 6 months after enactment, and the rest are spread out over the next 8 years.

2010 Highlights:
Individual Market
After 90 days:
Creates high-risk pool coverage for people who have been uninsured for at least six months and cannot obtain current individual coverage due to preexisting conditions. California already has such a program, but with serious limitations.

After 6 Months:
Prohibits rescissions of health plan coverage (cancellation of coverage when a claim is made) in all insurance markets, except when a claim is fraudulent or intentionally misrepresents material fact.

Small Group/Employer
Small Employer Tax Credit - makes available tax credits for qualified small employer contributions to purchase coverage for employees. In order to qualify, the business must have no more than 25 full-time employees, pay average annual wages of less than $50,000 and provide qualifying coverage.

Small Group/Individual Market
After 6 Months:
Lifetime limit on the dollar value of benefits for any participant or beneficiary is prohibited.

The age of a dependent for health plan coverage increases to up to age 26, regardless of that dependent’s status.

Mandates coverage of the following preventive services with no cost sharing :
- Immunizations;
- For infants, children, and adolescents, preventive care and screenings;
- For women, additional preventive care and screenings provided for in comprehensive guidelines regarding breast cancer screening, mammography, and prevention.

All health plans will have to cover preexisting conditions for children 19 and under. Insurance will likely be more expensive.

Mandates coverage of emergency services at in-network level regardless of provider.
Allows HMO enrollees to designate any in-network doctor their primary care physician (including OB/GYN and pediatrician).

Oh, and most important: Ten percent excise tax on amounts paid for indoor tanning services, whether or not an individual’s insurance policy covers the service.

2011 Highlight:
Starting January 1, 2011 expenses for medicines or drugs will qualify as tax-free and reimbursable by an employer-provided health plan, including an FSA, HRA or HSA, only if:
- the medicine or drug requires a prescription;
- is an over-the-counter medicine or drug and the individual obtains a prescription; or
- is insulin
Insurance companies will have to spend a certain percentage of premium dollars on (to be determined) member care: 85% for large groups, 80% for small groups (under 100) and individuals.

Most of the rest involves taxes, insurance company mandates, reporting rules, premium credits and subsidies (2014), government-administered insurance exchanges. I’ll cover some of this in future articles.

If you want to research on your own, you can start with the government site: Or give me a call, Bill Hannant at 707-829-2328.

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Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sonoma County Thrift Shops

This is a Frugal Shopper’s list...
if we’re missing your favorite - please let us know!
I'll walk you through my favorites of these stores -on the Small Shops of Sonoma County Shopping Tour in the December Gazette. In the mean time, take Thrift Shop Shopping Tips from Carol Russell, Mayor of Cloverdale (see below) - she's an expert!

Happy frugal shopping!!!

Let's Go Thrifting!

By Carol Russell, Mayor of Cloverdale

Got lots of new clothes for Roz and myself this week: 2 eye-catching jackets, 3 casual tops, a nifty tee plus a pair of classic khaki slacks and chic “skinny” jeans. Had budgeted no more than $12; but racked up $13.64. Sometimes you just need to splurge!

My total cost may look like a typo that’s missing a few zeros but it’s very real and so are the quality and style of everything I bought. How’d I do it? Simple. I “thrifted” at both Goodwill Industries and
Heaven’s Closet.

While visiting these popular non-profit Cloverdale thrift stores, I was able to save even more than usual by taking advantage of one of the two additional “discount days” available every week at the Goodwill plus a fabulous, twice-yearly, end-of-season sale at Heaven’s Closet that lets all of us thrifters fill up a whole shopping bag of fashion-forward apparel for just $2. (Yes. Really. 2 bucks!)

Around Cloverdale, as around our nation, being frugal while contributing to worthy causes is an irresistible draw for anyone looking for savings and who isn’t? For the truly savvy, thrift store patronage is both a status symbol and a sport since nothing’s greener than the practical recycling accomplished by donors and buyers, while nothing’s more satisfying than bagging a brand new “brand name” at a steep discount – up to 95% or more off retail. (Yes. Really!)

Over the years, I’ve typically paid only 10-15% of the original price for about half my clothes, not to mention all my other great finds – from replacements for broken place setting pieces to designer handbags and suit cases.

 That’s why, along with most of my friends, I thrift whenever I’m looking for new (often with the tags still on) and gently pre-owned popular brand or one-of-a-kind adult and kids’clothing, shoes, accessories, household and decorator items, collectibles, books, DVDs, toys, appliances, furniture, crafts products, and much, much more.

 Recently, I asked for background on their organizations and some tips from Charlie Stamps, VP of Retail Operations for Goodwill Industries of the Redwood Empire (; 792 So. Cloverdale Blvd.; Mon-Sat., 10-7, Sun. 10-6), and Marilyn Michelon, Board Member of Heaven’s Closet (439 No. Cloverdale Blvd.; behind the historic United Church; open Thurs. & Sat. 10-3.)

Goodwill’s been around since 1902, when Boston’s Rev. Edgar J. Helms first collected clothes and trained impoverished people to repair and sell them. The all-volunteer Heaven’s Closet is named in memory of beloved United Church member the late Lavonne Van Zante’s consignment shop.

Of course, for a Thrift to give good bargains they need to get good donations. Department and specialty stores donate new items to Thrifts as do individuals, like us, who have no use for them. Genuinely grateful for all clean and saleable donations, when it comes to used items, Charlie suggests we donate only “what you would give to a good friend” and Marilyn suggests: “If something should go to the dump please do not leave it here.” It costs non-profits too much time and money to dispose of our junk!

The following tips sum up Charlie’s and Marilyn’s advice along with that of us seasoned thrifters:
1) Shop regularly. Bargains come in and go out fast, so merchandise isn’t predictable. Carry a list of clothing and shoe sizes plus any specific current or future needs.
2) Spot something you need or collect? Grab it! Hesitation just lost me a new $3.99 paper shredder.
3) However, resist mere impulse! Buy only what you or someone else will truly use and appreciate. Clutter being neither bargain nor gift.
4) Check everything carefully for damage and test appliances. When in doubt, pass.
5) Learn how merchandise is displayed so you can find favorite or needed items quickly, saving time for exploring all the rest. As Marilyn says: “Look in the corners of the shop.”
6) Ask about senior and other discounts and special sales. Check return policies, too. Staffers and volunteers are delighted to help.
7) Above all, when it comes to everything you buy: Wear it, use it, gift it proudly!

Thrifting is more than spending; it’s giving, too. Every day of the year Goodwill, which employs seven Cloverdale staff members, is “helping people and changing lives” while Heaven’s Closet helps the United Church, Wallace House, the Food Pantry and other missions.

Thrift & Consignment Shops of Sonoma County:

A Vintage

1190 Gravenstein Hwy S
vintage & consignment

Alphabet Soup Benefit Thrift
213 Western Ave
Mon-Sat 10-5:30
100% proceeds donated directly to Petaluma Educational Foundation

Angel’s Attic
411 E Street
Santa Rosa

Anna’s Family Tradition Thrift
211A Southwest Blvd.
Rohnert Park

Ann’s Bargain Store
6525 First Street
thrift - some consignment
Mon - Sat 10am - 5pm

755 Petaluma Ave

Bodega Thrift
17125 Bodega Ave.
707-824-0912 - Rosina Kroner
Open Sat & Sunday 11-6
Thrift - Specialize organic materials - silk, etc. wool

Church Mouse
15 E Napa Street

St. Francis School
10-6 every day
Church Mouse
10 Boyes Blvd
(707) 938-9839

Church Mouse
18068 Sonoma Hwy
(707) 938-0188

Church Mouse Thrift Shop
16885 Highway 12
(707) 996-5115

Deb’s Unique Boutique
9890 Main St
Monte Rio
thrift & consignment
Sat and Sunday 11-6 and by appointment

435 Center Street
no web site

Funk and Flash
228 South Main St
vintage & consignment

Garbage Reincarnation Thrift
949 Sebastopol Rd
Santa Rosa
(707) 527-0770
9am - 5pm
Toys, Books, Clothing, Building materials, household items,furniture, Los manos goodies

Going To The Dogs
135 Southwest Blvd
Rohnert Park
(707) 794-9025

Goodwill of the Redwood Empire
651 Yolanda Ave
Santa Rosa
(707) 523-0550
8 am-3:30 Mon-Sun
Outlet Center “the dig” Goodwill Industries creates employment training opportunities for people with disabilities and disadvantages

792 S Cloverdale Blvd
(707) 894-5200
10 am-6 pm Mon-Sun

680 Sebastopol Rd
Santa Rosa
(707) 570-2392
9 am-8 pm Mon-Sat 8 am-7 pm Sun
Roseland area

6591 Commerce Blvd
Rohnert Park
(707) 585-0300
9 am-8 pm Mon-Sat 9 am-7 pm Sun

1000 Lakeville St
(707) 778-7485
9 am-8 pm Mon-Sat 9 am-7 pm Sun

6826 Sebastopol Ave
(707) 823-3551
10 am-7 pm Mon-Sat 9 am-6 pm Sun

3535 Industrial Ave
Santa Rosa
(707) 545-2492
9 am-8 pm Mon-Sat 8 am-7 pm Sun

513 Healdsburg Ave
(707) 431-8408

Heaven’s Closet
439 No. Cloverdale Blvd
Open Thurs. & Sat. 10-3.)
helps the United Church, Wallace House, the Food Pantry and other missions.

Heavenly Treasures
576 Mendocino Ave
Santa Rosa
M-F 10-2
Church sponsored supports social causes the Living Room

Heritage Salvage
1477 Petaluma Blvd S
(707) 762-6277
Salvage resale
Tues - Fri 9am-5pm Sat 10am-4pm Mon by appt
Green Building Source offers a cornucopia of reclaimed Building Materials for your home, garden and commercial projects.

Hospice VNA Thrift Store
748 Gravenstein Hwy N

Hospice Foundation
Mon-Sat 10-6 Sun 11-5
not-for-profit supports home health and hospice care 

Hospice VNA Thrift Store
1620 Piner Road
Santa Rosa

Hospice Foundation
Mon-Sat 10-6 Sun 11-5
Hospice VNA Thrift Store
510 Lewis Road
Santa Rosa

Hospice Foundation
Mon-Sat 10-6 Sun 11-5
490 Mendocino Ave #105
Santa Rosa

Hospice VNA Thrift Store
6350 Commerce Blvd.
Rohnert Park
(707) 588-8015
Mon-Sat 10-6 Sun 11-5

Kidz Swap Store
821 Petaluma Blvd., N. Unit C
tues - Sat 10 - 5
safe kids-play section inside, bi-monthly art openings

8200 Old Redwood Hwy
new &  used + Consignment

971 Gravenstein hwy
We sell designer, beautiful, unique, funky clothing & accessories
Mon-Sat 11-7 Sun 1-5

Little Launch
200 S Main St
Mon-Sat 10-5 Sun 12-5
Trendy, hip, stylin’ clothes for kids - owned my Mom Shana of Launch Clothing

Love Your Neighbor
2150 Bluebell Dr
Santa Rosa
support services
10 A.M. to 6 P.M. Tues Sat
Find loads of great stuff at great prices. Many rooms to explore. The longer stuff is there, the cheaper it gets! One of the best thrifts around!!

Mill Street Thrift
14075 Mill St
Mon-Sat 11-5:30
”By the Community, for the Communiy” Donations accepted - affordable clothing and home items - benefits Russian River homeless and anyone in need.Feeds the homeless every day

New to You/Assistance League
5 West 6th Street
Santa Rosa
Nonprofit community

Paper Doll clothing Consignment
748 Montecito Center
Santa Rosa
Tues-Sat 11-6 Sun 1-6

Pick of the Litter
1701 Piner Rd #A
Santa Rosa
Thrift & consignment

Pine Grove General Store
149 N Main Street
(707) 829-1138
HUGE selection.  Always a lot of inventory marked down - The prices are not as cheap as thrift stores, but the options and quality are better.

Plato’s Closet
1880 Mendocino Ave
Santa Rosa
Buy - Sell - Trade
Mon-Sat 10-8 pm Sun 12-5pm

ReCycle Town
500 Meacham Rd
(707) 795-3660
Aalvage - resale
Perpetual yard sale, where you’ll find all sorts of building materials and other goodies at rock-bottom prices. Find something you want? Just ask at the window for the price

Red Umbrella Consignment
120A Kentucky Street
707 778-3499
Mon - Sat, 10am -6pm Sun 12noon-4pm
We accept women’s seasonal clothing, footwear, handbags, jewelry and accessories. Tue.-Fri. 11-4, Sat. 10-1

Redwood Gospel Mission Thrift
1821 Piner Road
Santa Rosa

1201 Piner Road
Santa Rosa
(707) 568-3228
Mon - Sat 9 AM to 5 PM.
supoorts habitat fro Humanity housing programs - takes donations - encourgaes volunteers

Sack’s - Hospice of Petaluma
128 Liberty St
(707) 765-2228
Hospice Foundation
Mon-Sat 9:30-5 pm

Sacks on The Square
116 4th St
Santa Rosa
(707) 541-7227
Hospice Foundation

Salvation Army
200 Lytton Springs Rd
Mon-Sat 9:30-5 pm
Five buildings plus a car lot - everything from $1 ties to anitques &  collectables

Salvation Army
1020 Third St.
Santa Rosa
Christian charity
Mon-Sat 9:30-5 pm

Sharon’s Main Street Emporium
16390 Main St Suite C
call for hours

Skirt Chaser Vintage
208 Davis Street
Santa Rosa
Vintage resale
Sun-Mon 12-4 Tues-Sat 11-6

177-A Healdsburg Ave.
10 am-5:50 pm Mon-Sat Sun 11-4 pm
buy-sell-trade: offering high-quality used clothing and gear to babies, kids, and women at prices that don’t make them shudder. hand-selected items

St Vincent De Paul Society
5671 Redwood Drive
Rohnert Park
Mon-Sat 8:30-6 Closed Sunday

The Consignment Cottage
44 Mill Street
(707) 433-3180

The Legacy
781 Gravenstein Hwy South
(707) 823-7520
Thrift - some consignment
Benefits Sebastopol Senior Center
10 am-4 pm Mon-Sat Thurs til 6 pm
Fabric, notions, craft - all volunteer - benefits Sebastoipol Senior Center. almost everything you need to make clothes, costumes and beautiful crafts for your home and family.

Treasure House
700 Wilson Street
Santa Rosa
Consignment< Vicki's Secret
108 Petaluma Blvd. No., Petlauma
Mon-Fri: 11am ~ 5:30 pm, Sat: 11am ~ 5pm, Sun: 12 ~ 5pm
Thousands of couture designer clothing & accessories on consignment

Welfare League Shop
126 4th Street
Santa Rosa

Yard Sale Thrift Store
177 Southwest Blvd.
Rohnert Park
(707) 795-7776


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Sonoma County Animal Rescue Organizations

Below is a list of Sonoma County Animal Rescue organizations of which we are aware - but it could be incomplete! So if you want us to list another - please send it along to vesta@sonic. net. These organizations are all run by people who sincerely care about animals - of all kinds. Follow the links to learn more - volunteer, find a pet for yourself, etc.

Bird Rescue of Sonoma County

Swallows, Swifts, Crows, Ravens, advice only

Box Turtle Sanctuary
Contact Alice Rogers by phone
permanent home for box turtles
Turtle/Tortoise Information and Referral

Bright Haven
Sebastopol. For BrightHaven's location, please call:
Sanctuary for elderly and disabled animals. Watch the video - it's quite amazing!

Countryside Rescue
3410 Guerneville Road, Santa Rosa
Our mission is to rescue abandoned, homeless animals and place them into permanent, stable, loving forever homes.
Rescue Hours: Sat & Sun 11-5 Weds - Friday by appointment

Feline Rescue of No. Calif. Inc.
P.O. Box 215, Cloverdale, CA 95425
Adoption/spay/neuter strays and semi-ferals. We are a “shelter without walls” and “animal control with a heart,” operating with a tiny budget and no paid staff or administrative overhead.

Forgotten Felines
1814 Empire Industrial Ct #F, Santa Rosa
Spay/neuter adoption and cat colony care

We are expanding our spay/neuter efforts to include tame and stray cats for low income individuals; these cats will have the opportunity to go through our clinics for a nominal fee.
Friends of the Animals
of the Redwood Empire
Rohnert Park
Provide programs to help pets and pet owners.
FAIRE currently offers a reduced cost pet spay/neuter program to the residents of Cotati, Penngrove, Rohnert Park, and the Sebastopol area.

Healdsburg Animal Shelter
570 Westside Road, Healdsburg
Adoption Hours:
Monday - Saturday, 11 AM - 4 PM
Sundays, 12 PM - 3 PM
cat/dog rescue adoption no kill policy

Adopt-a-Thon on designated Sundays from 11am-3pm in front of the Healdsburg Animal Shelter @570 Westside Road in Healdsburg. The adoption fees will be half price for both cats and dogs and the event will have a raffle, agility demo, doggie hors d’uevres and more! Check their web site and/or call for the next events.

Humane Society of Sonoma County

5345 Hwy 12 (@ Llano Rd), Santa Rosa
Open Everyday, 12:00 - 6:00 PM except holidays
Cat/dog rescue/adoption/low cost clinic
Animals at the Humane Society are cared for until they find a new home, including those that are sick or injured, those that may need behavior training or simply those that need the gift of time. Adoptable animals are never euthanized due to age or lack of space.

Pacific Wildlife Project
Pelicans, sea birds
All volunteer - treats more than 2,000 animals a year. Our goal is to give back some of what we take from the environment and to respect the natural balance between all living things.

Petaluma Animal Shelter
840 Hopper Street, Petaluma
Tues - Fri 1 ~ 6pm ,Sat 12 ~ 6pm
Cat/dog/rabbit - even a mouse! rescue and adoption. Numerous programs for schools on animal education. Foster programs. handles animal control issues for Petaluma.

Pets Lifeline
19686 8th Street, Sonoma
Tues - Fri 12 ~ 5pm, Sat 11 ~ 5pm
Cat and dog care/adoption Sonoma Valley area. Programs in human education, spay & neuter, feral management, dog classes & rehabilitation.

Rohnert Park Animal Shelter
301 J. Rogers Lane, Rohnert Park
Wed: 1 ~ 6:30pm, Thurs/Fri: 1 ~ 5:30pm, Sun: 1 ~ 4:30 pm
Cat/dog/small animal rescue and adoption.
The Rohnert Park Animal Shelter is operated by the City of Rohnert Park under direction of the Dept. of Public Safety

So Co Animal Care and Control
1247 Century Court, Santa Rosa
Domestic and livestock care and rescue. Finds homes for adoptable animals, helps owners find lost animals, pet licensing, rabies control, field services for injured, distressed and bused animals.

Sonoma County Reptile Rescue
contact by phone or web site
Hours of operation change daily due to varied volunteer schedules.

full range of services, including reptile rescue/rehabilitation, relocation, adoption, and education programs. Please feel free to contact us with any reptile related questions, adoptions, or emergencies.

Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue
403 Mecham Road, Petaluma
Mammal and Bird Rescue
Guided tours of our facilities are held on Saturdays at the times shown below:
Spring and Summer: 10:00, 12:00, 2:00
Fall and Winter: 2:00
Adults $5.00 donation Kids $3.00 donation
Note: For health and safety reasons, no one will be permitted to enter the site after tour departure or during non tour times throughout the week. Please Call for an Appointment and for more information.

The Bird Rescue Center
3430 Chanate Road, Santa Rosa
Open 8am ~ 5pm except during baby bird season - 8am to 8pm.
Wild native bird rescue and rehab. Our purpose is to assist the public in the rescue of injured, orphaned or ill birds.

The Kenwood Wildlife Center
171 Pythian Road, Santa Rosa
Owl and bird rescue/rehab/relocation. Promotes wildlife stewardship through education, scientific investigation and rehabilitation

Wildlife Fawn Rescue
19201 Sonoma Hwy #105
Sonoma, CA 95452
Deer and Fawn rehab.
Answers to question when you find a fawn on their web site. All Wildlife Fawn Rescue's fawns come to us due to human interference. Therefore, we feel a deep obligation to restore them to health and return them to their natural habitat where they belong.

Wildlife Rehabilitator
Jack Rabbits and Cottontails
Find a local Wildlife Rehabilitation organization :

Wine Country Greyhound Adoption
PO Box 6266, Santa Rosa 95406
Adoption and fostering of greyhounds.
dedicated to finding caring, permanent homes for retired racing greyhounds, and to providing support and guidance for the adopted dogs and their families. We endeavor to educate the public of the plight of these wonderful dogs and demonstrate what loving companions they make.

PET STORES with Rescue Animals to Adopt:

49er Pet
375 Southwest Blvd, Rohnert Park

Lakewood Pets
9084 Brooks Rd So., Windsor

2765 Santa Rosa Ave, Santa Rosa

575 Rohnert Park Expy West, Rohnert Park

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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Kids Learn Estuary Science from Jenner Native

Lucky Kids Learn 
River Estuary Science 
with Penny Island Native

By Sarah Amador
“It’s like a scene from a movie,” Kobi Calhoun said, dipping her kayak paddle in the waters of the Russian River Estuary.

“There’s two, there’s three!” classmate Christina Fortenberry said, pointing to harbor seals.

Kobi and Christina, 6th graders from St. Paul’s Episcopal School in Oakland, were not the only ones making new discoveries in Jenner’s Estuary last month. Nearly 200 students were educated in October through WaterTreks EcoTours, a kayak company based in Jenner. Naturalist Suki Waters and her team of environmental educators guided students through the estuary to Penny Island to the Pacific Ocean, using the environment as a living classroom.

For many students, it was their first time on kayaks. When 7th graders from Willowside Charter School visited, their teacher Debbie Grima-Lowe loaded kayaks with field boxes, clipboards, and waterproof science observation worksheets. Following her lesson plans, students identified and drew pictures of plants, vertebrates, and invertebrates. They learned about water quality, salinity, biotic and abiotic factors.

“Use your eyes to discover things,” Waters said. “Look for signs of animals, tracks.”
On most days, students observe wildlife such as blue herons, harbor seals, snowy egrets, cormorants, seagulls, pelicans, garter snakes. On lucky days, students witness grey whales breaching.

“It’s been wonderful,” said Christina’s mother, Xina Loveall. “All the senses are engaged. And to have a guide like Suki, added bonus! There’s history.” Waters has a unique, personal connection to the land. Her ancestors were part of a Native American tribe that made Penny Island and Jenner their home.

“My grandmother was born there,” Waters said, pointing to the beach directly across from the island. Raised by her grandmother, Waters helped take care of Penny Island, its gardens, and its cows.

Grima-Lowe has brought more than three hundred students to WaterTreks. “It’s important for me to give students memorable, new experiences, in and out of the classroom,” Grima-Lowe said. “It’s these experiences that give them a foundation to learn from. I try to teach them science is about discovery and connections. Connections to the natural and cultural environment, of which they are a part.”

In the eco-tour offered by WaterTreks, the environment and wildlife were protected because no gas was used. Kayaking is a zero emission form of transportation. Students collected trash, such as a tennis shoe turned by nature into a silverweed planter. At the estuary’s Visitor Center, students examined a boat made from trash and learned how plastic kills animals.

On one trip, Susan Porter, 6th grade math and science teacher from St. Paul’s, brought plaster for track castings. On the beach where Waters’ grandmother was born, students found tracks. They prepared the plaster and poured it.

Darious Wetworth, a St. Paul’s 6th grader, explained why he liked living classrooms. “This is the real track. You can see if it was made by a deer or raccoon. It’s not just a picture in a book.”

Affiliated with EcoRing, Stewards of the Coast & Redwoods, American Outdoors Association, and other nonprofits, WaterTreks is in process of becoming a nonprofit organization.

Sarah Amador is a freelance writer and can be reached at:

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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

WalMart Rohnert Park Superstore Challenged

Battle Against Sprawl
Costs Outweigh Benefits

By Martin J. Bennett
Rohnert Park is now the epicenter for the battle against sprawl and big box development in the North Bay.

In April, the Rohnert Park Planning Commission unanimously denied the proposal by Wal-Mart to enlarge its existing discount store into a 167,000 square- foot supercenter. Wal-Mart appealed the decision to the city council and in July the council, after more than five hours of public comment, voted to approve the project. Council member Jake Mackenzie was the lone dissenting vote.

A broad coalition of labor, environmental, and community organizations from across the county organized a grassroots campaign against the supercenter. This year-long effort included canvassing most households in the city, tabling at local supermarkets, and phone banking city residents. Hundreds of opponents packed both the planning and city council meetings, and the coalition delivered more than 4000 signatures to the city council from residents opposed to the project. Following the city council vote, Sonoma County Conservation Action and the Sierra Club filed a lawsuit challenging the approval of the EIR and the project.

The coalition is continuing to make the case to the community that the costs of the project far outweigh the benefits.

Impacts are Regional
The economic and environmental impacts of the proposed supercenter are regional and extend beyond the City of Rohnert Park. The controversy raises fundamental questions about future growth and the necessity for proactive city and regional planning to promote equitable and sustainable development.

Development in Sonoma County is inevitable. According to the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), the population of Sonoma County will increase by twenty-three percent over the next twenty years. In 2008, voters approved a landmark initiative to meet this challenge, creating the two-county SMART train that will run on tracks adjacent to Highway 101 from Cloverdale to Larkspur. The build-out of the train system provides the opportunity for city-centered ‘transit-oriented development’ (TOD) around the fourteen SMART train stations--development that could accommodate ninety percent of the projected population growth.

Transit-oriented development is densely-built, mixed-use development within one-half mile of transit stations, accessible by bicycle and foot, and with a variety of retail, office, and small businesses. Through land-use planning and public funding, municipalities can promote development near transit stations that includes good jobs paying family-supporting wages, affordable housing for all income groups, open space, and walkable neighborhoods. The proposed Wal-Mart supercenter located a quarter of a mile from the site of the planned Rohnert Park SMART train station is a direct threat to such careful and appropriate planning.

Opponents of the Wal-Mart supercenter believe it undermines compact and equitable development in Rohnert Park, and violates the city’s general plan, which mandates access by residents to neighbourhood supermarkets. The project undercuts transit-oriented development’s efforts to reduce low-wage work, support local business, tackle global warming, and lay the foundation for a robust regional economy.

Working Poor
Nearly one third of the workforce in Sonoma County are currently ‘working poor’ and do not earn a self-sufficiency, or ‘living wage.’ According to the Insight Center for Community and Economic Development in 2008, two parents working full-time to support two children in Sonoma County must each earn $14.90 an hour or $62,940 a year to pay for food, housing, medical care, child care, and transportation.

Sonoma State University economist Robert Eyler reports that the supercenter will contribute to job quality decline and increase the problem of working poverty. According to his analysis, the county will lose 105-211 jobs--mostly good jobs that pay hourly wages for full-time workers ranging from $17.67 per hour at Pacific Market, a local independent grocer, to $23.36 at Raley’s and Safeway. The Wal-Mart supercenter will employ 450 workers, and, according to the company, the typical full-time worker at Wal-Mart earns $12.10 an hour.

Traffic Impacts
With regard to global warming, the supercenter will have adverse effects on air quality and greenhouse gas emissions. In order to comply with AB 32, a 2006 state legislative measure, all nine cities and the county have pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions twenty-five percent by 2015. However, the Eyler report notes that Pacific Market will close if the supercenter is built, and its 8,000 customers will drive an extra 28,400 miles each week to shop for groceries.

Further, Stacy Mitchell, author of Big Box Swindle, reports that vehicle miles driven per customer will increase because a supercenter draws shoppers from a greater distance than a discount store. Indeed, since Wal-Mart’s rapid expansion in the late 1970s, miles traveled per household to shop has skyrocketed by three hundred percent, while total household driving increased by seventy- five percent.

Local vs. National Suppliers
As for local business, there are sixty local suppliers that provide produce and merchandise to Pacific Market, and more than seventy supply Oliver’s, the largest grocery in nearby Cotati. Wal-Mart suppliers, on the other hand, are nearly 100 percent national and global irms (and that means increased truck traffic into the county).

The ‘Go Local’ movement has demonstrated that patronizing local businesses ensures that more dollars remain in the community. Studies by Civic Economics demonstrate that locally-owned firms produce two to three times more economic activity within the local economy than national chains --including locally-retained profits, wages paid to local residents, purchases from local suppliers, and contributions to local nonprofits.

Equitable Development
The Wal-Mart supercenter will undermine transit-oriented and equitable development in the North Bay. To accommodate population growth and to promote sustainable development, all cities along the 101 corridor in Marin and Sonoma counties must prioritize the creation of good jobs and affordable housing near SMART train stations.

A favorable outcome of the lawsuit could force the City of Rohnert Park to revisit the decision to approve the Wal-Mart expansion. Two planning commissioners who voted against the Wal-Mart expansion, John Borba and Amy Ahanotu, werecandidates for the city council this fall. The battle to halt the supercenter is far from over.

Martin J. Bennett teaches American history at Santa Rosa Junior College, serves as Co-Chair of the Living Wage Coalition of Sonoma County and is on the board of Sonoma County Conservation Action. For more information about the Wal-Mart superstore campaign go to:

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