OUR COUNTY by Efren Crrillo, January 2011
Great news for Bayer Farm Park and Gardens came just before Thanksgiving. Santa Rosa was awarded $4.8 million of Proposition 84 funds to further development of this 5.5 acre parcel of land in the Roseland area, on West Avenue. If you’ve never been to Bayer, this rural jewel set in an urban setting is worth a visit. LandPaths offers a community gardening program to local families and students at nearby Sheppard School, furthering the connection between nutritious food and its source. Learn more about Bayer and LandPaths at:
The following week, our Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Sonoma County was awarded $20,000 from the Consulate of Mexico and UC Berkeley’s IME scholarship program fund. This highly competitive award funded only two institutions in our state. Donna Zapata and Lisceth Cruz worked over an entire weekend to submit their grant application…kudos to them both on their success! The Chamber will award scholarships at their annual gala on June 25th. Because of the award, they will be able to offer more scholarships this year. As a past beneficiary of a scholarship for HCCSC, I know what a difference this honor can make in a young person’s life.
Students can find everything needed to complete the application process by visiting our web site at www.sonomacf.org, click on Receive, then click on Scholarships. The application period runs from Monday, November 28, 2010 through Monday, February 28, 2011, and the personal statement is a critical part of the application. Good luck!
The Russian River Watershed Association, comprised of nine cities, counties, and special districts in the Russian River Watershed, has released their Russian River Friendly Landscape Guidelines. At a forum held for landscape professionals and interested parties on November 16th, many people heard presentations on the new guidelines from David Noren of the Regional Water Quality Control Board, Cynthia Havstad of Stopwaste.org, and then saw presentations by Brock Dolman, Kate Frey, and John Kopshever. This well attended workshop launched the new guideline, which was the result of collaborations with Alameda and Sacramento County’s River and Bay Friendly guidelines. The booklet will be published online soon alongside a wealth of conservation and environmental tips at http://www.rrwatershed.org/reports.html. If you’d like a hard copy, we have some available at our office.
Sonoma County Human Services launched its internet based Benefits CalWIN site went live on November 22nd. Applicants for Medi-Cal and Food Stamp programs can now apply on-line from any computer with internet access at www.benefitscalwin.com. The site also features a help tool that will assist individuals in determining if they are eligible for the two programs. This important initiative should make benefits more accessible to those in our community who need assistance.
Redwood Empire Food Bank has seen a dramatically increasing demand for food during this economic recession. Latest local figures show that over 70,000 individuals now seek assistance with their monthly grocery needs. The Food Bank is doing an incredible job meeting the growing demand in our county and its neighbors. Most pantries are run by volunteers on a shoe string budget, so the dollars that are donated to the Food Bank multiply in a very effective manner. A literal food clearing house, REF supplies 146 food programs and pantries in a multi-county area. Over 50% of the groceries distributed are fresh produce, and nearly 40% of the recipients are children in families living well below the poverty level. As 2009 closes, please consider making a donation to the Redwood Empire Food Bank to help them meet critical needs in our local community.
Our Board of Supervisors is closing 2010 with the retirement of two veteran Supervisors, Paul Kelley and Mike Kerns. I wish them both well, and thank them for the guidance, support, and kindness offered to me, and for their years of public service.
Our newly elected colleagues, Supervisors David Rabbitt and Mike McGuire will join our Board on January 3rd. Their first Board meeting and swearing in ceremony will take place at our meeting on January 11th. I’m looking forward to working with both of them, and congratulate them on their election to the Board.
And to all of you, I hope your Holidays were peaceful and warm, and may 2011 see Sonoma County continue to thrive…