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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

Friday, September 23, 2011

This is the beginning of Cemetery Tour Season...
we'll be posting moire as we learn about them. 
Let us know if you have any more we can pass on to readers!

Historical Society presents 

The Western Sonoma County Historical Society will present its 9th Annual Barbara Bull Memorial Cemetery Walk on Sept. 30, and Oct. 1, 2011.

The program will include vignettes based on the lives of people residing at Sebastopol Memorial Lawn. This year the Historical Society is highlighting John McDonnell, Sebastopol Times Publisher; John Triggs, City Councilman; Sarah Ballard; Miwok Elder; Baxter Berry, Livery stable owner, member of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors; and Joseph Giammanco, opera singer and budget store owner. Jean Fisher will reprise an ethnic story.

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Dine Out for Seniors Meals on Wheels

Bay Area Restaurants Rally To Support 
Meals On Wheels “Dine Out” Program

One Day Fundraiser on October 4th, 2011 
to Help Feed Seniors Across Seven Counties

In response to the precarious economy and extensive budget cuts that have put considerable pressure on local support services, specifically for senior citizens, Meals on Wheels agencies in seven Bay Area counties have organized the second annual Bay Area Dine Out fundraising event. Nearly doubling restaurant participation over last year, more than 200 local restaurants (and counting) throughout the East Bay, South Bay, San Francisco, North Bay, and Peninsula have risen to the occasion and partnered with their dining clientele and the Dine Out program to help raise much needed funding for daily hot meal delivery to homebound seniors.

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Pepperwood Preserve class on Oaks

Pepperwood Preserve offers Class on Oaks

Students will explore groves comprised of many oak species onsite at Pepperwood Preserve Saturday, October 1, 2011 from 9:00 am-3:00 pm with botanical expert Steve Barnhart. Barnhart is Pepperwood’s Academic Director and an expert on California’s oaks, Steve Barnhart will lead students on a walk to discover the biology, ecology and identity of this exceptionally diverse plant community. Students will also learn about oak management, pests and diseases, regeneration and wildlife issues. The class is $10.00 and students can register online at .

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Rik Olsen hits the Road in San Francisco

Sonoma County's Rik Olsen pulling up fresh print

The San Francisco Center for the Book’s annual Roadworks Street Fair is a day-long arts festival showcasing printmaking and the art of the book. Using a three-ton construction steamroller and an unlikely letterpress bed- the street- a team of artists and printers print large-scale linoleum carved block prints. In addition to the steamroller printing centerpiece, there are artists vendors, and organizations presenting an assortment of fine and affordable wares. In 2010, Roadworks attracted more than 5,000 attendees.

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Sonoma County School Accountability Report

State releases 2010-11 school accountability report

State accountability data released in Sacramento today show that Sonoma County schools have continued to realize gains in academic achievement, moving up eight points on the Academic Performance Index (API) scale for the 2010-11 school year. The county’s API Growth score now stands at 787, which is nine points higher than the state average.

The state as a whole posted an API score of 778 in today’s report. This is the ninth year in a row of statewide academic improvement.

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Russian River Watershed Protection Sues Sonoma County

Russian River Watershed Protection Committee 
Sues Sonoma County Water Agency 
over Jenner Estuary Management Plan

By Brenda Adelman
On September 14th, RRWPC filed a lawsuit against the Sonoma County Water Agency over their certification of the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) of the Estuary Management Project
. This came after RRWPC had submitted a 21 page letter appealing to the Board of Directors (Supervisors)  the day before their decision not to take this action. Also, about ten other supporters had also submitted significant comments on this issue at that time. (Please let me know if you would like a copy of that letter. See below for contact info.)

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Resurrection Roller Girls’ "Frogger" Licker and "Braids of Wrath" make a generous donation to Council on Aging Director of Nutrition Jane Doroff to support the Meals on Wheels program.

Resurrection Roller Girls 
skate to support local 
Meals on Wheels

The Resurrection Roller Girls recently donated $457 to help seniors in Sonoma County stay independent. This women's flat track roller derby recreational and competitive sporting league supports community events and fundraisers while promoting their athletes and the sport of Roller Derby. Each month the group selects a local charity to support and in July the Council on Aging’s Meals on Wheels program was selected as recipient of the proceeds from their match.

These funds will be used to provide meals for homebound seniors in Sonoma County. Meals on Wheels delivers fresh meals to temporarily home-bound and chronically ill seniors. We serve over 215,000 meals to 1,650 seniors annually. In addition, ten dining sites provide 41,000 meals and companionship to 1,700 seniors annually. Therapeutic meals and nutritional counseling are also available.

About Council on Aging Services for Seniors
Council on Aging is a private 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization providing services for Sonoma County seniors, 60 years and older, and their families since 1966. Our mission is to enhance the quality of life
for Sonoma County’s aging community by providing services that promote well-being and maintain independence. Some of our programs are funded in part by the Area Agency on Aging and others are
fee based.

About Resurrection Roller Girls
Founded in the winter of 2011, Resurrection Roller Girls have joined over 45 skaters, referees, staff and non-skating officials to form three teams in the inaugural 2011 season. The three teams include the Cinderollas, Combustin’ Betties and the Junior Derby team, the Fallin’ Angels. The season runs from February to October with bouts April through October. On Monday nights the teams host a Back to Track Basics Training at 7:30 pm at Cal Skate in Rohnert Park.

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Is the DEATH PENALTY a realistic and just way to penalize a person for committing a crime? If there is any doubt at all that the person is guilty, is this a rational way to judge and sentence a person? If death is used as a deterrent - does it actually deter people from committing crimes?

"The struggle for justice doesn't end with me. This struggle is for all the Troy Davises who came before me and all the ones who will come after me. I'm in good spirits and I'm prayerful and at peace." - Troy Davis

Killing someone - for any reason whether “justified” or not, tells others that killing is OK. It's much like hitting someone. “Spare the rod...spoil the child” is child abuse and teaches a child that being hit is OK - and that hitting is OK...because the hitting is considered discipline. But does it really stop a child from acting out? Does killing someone really stop others from killing?

Death Penalty Links

Find an organization you want to support if you believe that the death penalty should be abolished. This list is provided by Amnesty International - an organization committed to justice for all

State Organizations against the death penalty

Project Hope to Abolish the Death Penalty (Alabama)
Alaskans Against the Death Penalty
Coalition of Arizonans to Abolish the Death Penalty
ACLU of Northern California
California People of Faith Working Against the Death Penalty
Death Penalty Focus of California
Coloradans Against the Death Penalty (COADP)
Connecticut Network to Abolish the Death Penalty
Delaware Citizens Opposed to the Death Penalty
Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty
Georgians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty
Illinois Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty
Indiana Coalition Acting to Suspend Executions
Indiana Information Center on the Abolition of Capital Punishment
Iowans Against the Death Penalty
Kansas Coalition Against the Death Penalty
Kentucky Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty
Mainers Against the Death Penalty
Maryland Coalition Against State Executions
Massachusetts Citizens Against the Death Penalty
Mississippians Educating for Smart Justice
Missourians to Abolish the Death Penalty (MADP)
Nebraskans Against the Death Penalty
New Jerseyans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty
New Mexico Coalition to Repeal the Death Penalty
New Yorkers for Alternatives to the Death Penalty
North Carolina Coalition for a Moratorium
People of Faith Against the Death Penalty (North Carolina)
Ohioans to Stop Executions
Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty
Oregonians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty
Pennsylvanians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty
Tennessee Coalition to Abolish State Killing
StandDown Texas
Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty
Texas Moratorium Network
Vermonters Against the Death Penalty
Virginians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (VADP)
Washington Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty
Wisconsin Coalition Against the Death Penalty

National Organizations against the death penalty

Abolitionist Action Committee
ABA Death Penalty Moratorium Implementation Project
ABA Death Penalty Representation Project
ACLU Capital Punishment Project

Campaign to End the Death Penalty
Catholics Against Capital Punishment
Citizens United for Alternatives to the Death Penalty
Citizens United for the Rehabilitation of Errants (CURE)
The Constitution Project – Death Penalty Committee
Death Penalty News & Updates
The Equal Justice Initiative of the Quixote Center
Fellowship of Reconciliation
Innocence Project
Innocent and Executed
Journey of Hope From Violence to Healing
The Justice Project

Murder Victims Families for Reconciliation
Murder Victims Families for Human Rights
NAACP Legal Defense Fund
National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty
Religious Organizing Against the Death Penalty Project
Southern Center for Human Rights
Unitarian Universalists for Alternatives to the Death Penalty
United Methodist Church General Board of Church and Society: Death Penalty
US Supreme Court
Witness to Innocence

International Organizations against the death penalty
Amnesty International (London, England)
ECPM (Together Against the Death Penalty) (Paris, France)
Penal Reform International (London, England)
Sant Egidio International Campaign Against the Death Penalty (Rome, Italy)
World Coalition Against the Death Penalty (Paris, France)

MORE on the subject of CAPITAL PUNISHMENT:
“10 Countries That Still Embrace Capital Punishment


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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Sonoma County Book Festival 2011

Travel the World
without Leaving Home

By Penny Hastings
Close your eyes and imagine a place where everyone who reveres the written word gathers together with books and book people…where authors, poets, children’s book authors, storytellers and book sellers all gather on one fantastic day. You can be one of them if you come to the 12th Annual Sonoma County Book Festival in Old Courthouse Square in downtown Santa Rosa on September 24, 10 am – 4 pm. Admission is FREE!

Authors Maxine Hong Kingston (I Love a Broad Margin of My Life, The Woman Warrior), Ann Packer (Swim Back to Me, The Dive from Clausen’s Pier,) Geneen Roth (Lost and Found: Unexpected Revelations About Food and Money, Women, Food, and God, are among the many nationally recognized and local favorite authors who will present their newest works, mingle with readers and autograph books during the day.

Must-see Belva Davis, an award-winning journalist who has covered Bay Area politics for four decades, will read from her memoir, Never in my Wildest Dreams: A Black Woman’s Life in Journalism. Davis, who lives in Petaluma, will appear with co-author Vicki Haddock. You can see Davis at 12:45 pm in the Forum Room of the downtown library.

Poet Jane Hirshfield leads the distinguished list of acclaimed poets presenting their works at the Book Festival. Hirshfield’s award-winning books include the new Come, Thief, her seventh poetry collection. Al Young, who served as Poet Laureate of California from 2005-08, Francisco X. Alarcon, an award-winning Chicano poet and educator, Judy Halebsky, Christine Hutchins, Lee Slominsky and Catherine Strisik are some of the other poets attending.

For children, the Peanuts Pavilion area will kick off with Megan McDonald, author of the best-selling Judy Moody series at 10 am on Old Courthouse Square. The Schulz Museum’s booth will host celebrated cartoonists—including artists from Hanna Barbera—who will teach children to draw familiar characters from Scooby Doo to Disney princesses. Storytellers, entertainers and book authors reading from their works will also be on hand.

New this year, the Secret Agent Jack Stalwart Treasure Hunt will be ongoing throughout the day. Based on the popular series by Elizabeth Singer Hunt, the treasure hunt encourages children and their families to solve clues by visiting businesses along Fourth and D streets…both will be closed to car traffic from Old Courthouse Square to the downtown library.

An expanded young adult section presents panel discussions of topics for teens, including “Save the Drama for Your Mama: Contemporary Young Adult Authors” and a Teen Poetry Slam with cash prizes.

Five fascinating panel discussions, including “The Sky is High and So am I: Alternative Subjects” will draw festival-goers. Other panels are “Shots Happen” (Mystery Panel); “Books: The Rumors of My Death have been Greatly Exaggerated” (Book Business); “Writing for Film and Stage” and “Writing Local History with Gaye LeBaron.”

Visit for a schedule of the days’ events, a complete list of presenters and more information about the Book Festival.

The Sonoma County Book Festival, the oldest general interest book festival in Northern California welcomes the entire family to a full day of literature, poetry and fun.

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Russian River Water Supply TOUR

Tour the Source for
 600,000 Water Users
Saturday, September 17 & Saturday, October 15, 9am - Noon

The Sonoma County Water Agency (Water Agency) invites the public to attend one of two FREE half day tours of the Russian River water supply system. Tour participants will visit Water Agency facilities that divert, pump and treat the drinking water delivered to more than 600,000 residents in portions of Sonoma and Marin counties. These facilities will include the inflatable rubber dam on the Russian River, fish ladders, infiltration ponds and groundwater pumping plants.

“Turning on the tap will never be the same after attending the Water Agency’s water supply tour,” said Water Agency Chairman Efren Carrillo. “The tour offers a behind the scenes look into how our drinking water supply relies on a unique system of reservoirs, creeks and one of the largest groundwater pumping plants in the world.”

Space on the tour is limited and will be reserved on a first-come-first-served basis. To reserve a seat, complete the online tour registration form at
For more information, please contact Brad Sherwood at 707-547-1927 or

Sonoma County Water Agency provides water supply, flood protection and sanitation services for portions of Sonoma and Marin counties. Visit us on the Web at

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Santa Rosa Green Homes Tour

A Green Homes Tour hosted by the City of Santa Rosa and Solar Sonoma County will be held on October 2nd 2011. This tour will showcase a variety of Santa Rosa homes that have implemented measures like using recycled building materials, installing solar panels to generate electricity, and graywater systems.
• Pick up ideas on how to make your home green
• Speak with experts
• See live demonstrations

Santa Rosa’s Water Use Efficiency team will be on hand to demonstrate a rainwater catchment system at one of the green homes. While on the tour make sure to speak with them about available resources and rebates for installing your own system!

“Homes on the tour are models to the community. They have done it all - drought tolerant landscaping, energy efficiency measures, gone into renewable energy and have created a beautiful, livable house.” Said Claire Nordlie, City of Santa Rosa Clean Energy Advocate. The homes selected will be toured by the public and showcased to help the community find ways that they can improve their own homes.

Representatives from the Sonoma County Energy Independence Program (SCEIP), and Energy Upgrade California will be present at the event to discuss rebates and financing mechanisms currently available to Sonoma County residents. “It is our intent to showcase homes that have not only implemented energy saving measures but also have taken advantage of available rebates and resources” said Julie Carlton, City of Santa Rosa Clean Energy Advocate.

For more information on this tour and to purchase tickets Cost: $5 (Includes guidebook for all homes on the tour) please contact the Clean Energy Advocates at 707-543-3886, or visit

September 7th & 14th, 6-8:30 pm.  Receive free hardware and learn how to install and operate a Laundry to Landscape graywater system.  Reserve your spot by contacting Water-Use Efficiency at 543-3985 or

September 7th, 6 to 7p. Learn how solar works, why it can be a good investment and how to finance it. RSVP @ or call 707-543-3886.

Ways To Reduce Water Waste

• Reduce irrigation by 20% through the use of Turf-Time.
• Find leaks and repair leaks now.
• Inspect and tune-up irrigation system monthly.
• Irrigate between midnight and 6:00 a.m. to reduce water loss from evaporation and wind.
• Use a broom, not a hose, to clean driveways decks or patios.
• Cover pools and hot-tubs to prevent evaporation.
• Use front-load washing machines (apply for rebate).
• Run the dishwasher and clothes washer with full loads only.
• Prevent and report water waste.

Water Savings Tips
Landscape water-use efficiency activities are focused on reducing outdoor water use, particularly during summer months when demand for water reaches its peak. From June through September, approximately half of the water used citywide is applied to landscapes. It is our goal to help customers conserve water while maintaining healthy and beautiful landscapes.

Indoor water-use efficiency activities are focused on reducing indoor water use all year.Efficient indoor water fixtures will save you time and money. Checking your indoor plumbing for leaks on a regular basis will allow you to catch leaks early and save money.

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Willow Creek Restoration Saves Fish

Steelhead and Coho SAVED! Restoring Fish Passage in Willow Creek

Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods (Stewards) is proud to report that our Willow Creek 2nd Bridge Fish Passage Construction Project has begun! Due to the amount of rain we received this year, the creek needed to be dewatered in the construction area.


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Sonoma County Watershed Cleanup

The 24th annual Russian River Watershed Cleanup, a project of the Sonoma County Conservation Council, is scheduled for Saturday September 24, 2011. Community members will clean up the river between Asti and Monte Rio by canoe and by foot on Saturday. Participants in past cleanups have removed several tons of refuse from the river including tires, shopping carts, water heaters and car parts.

In 2010 over 310 participants helped to clean the river on Saturday and to sort trash for recycling on Sunday. This number included students from local high schools and Westside Elementary School as well as members of the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board and other agencies. Volunteers cleaned 55 miles of the river and pulled out 182 tires, 1860 pounds of recyclables, 12 tons of scrap metal and almost 2 tons of other household trash.

The watershed cleanup is coordinated by the Russian River Watershed Cleanup Committee. Members of the Sequoia Paddlers, a section of the Sierra Club, volunteer to coordinate the event and serve as trip leaders and area coordinators. To register, please go to our website by September 15th. Participants will meet in Healdsburg, Guerneville and at Mirabel/River Road. 

Volunteers with 4WD trucks are needed to transport collected trash at trailheads and beaches. If interested, please contact Bob Clemens by phone at (707) 887-2303 or by e-mail at

You may also check out details for the California Coastal Cleanup Sonoma County on September 17 at

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Help for Hoarders Workshop

By Elisabeth Middelberg
“I might one day buy an old record player and then I can listen to all these records I have here” Sallie says, pointing to several stacks of old vinyl records.  It is in itself a harmless statement, except Sallie’s stacks of records are almost disappearing under several other stacks of newspapers, magazines, clothes and boxes with new, small appliances and brown paper bags, the content of which is unknown, even to Sallie. Those familiar with hoarding or excessive cluttering will have recognized Sallie’s explanation of why she cannot let go of her records.

Over time, Sallie has become more and more isolated. Chairs are now used to hold books and papers and can no longer be used to sit on, and Sally does not want others to see her living environment.

Recent reality shows like “Hoarders” have started to shed light on this challenging medical condition and current research is under way to increase people’s understanding of this condition and to develop treatment models. So far it has been difficult to treat people who are hoarders, partly because hoarders often do not see the need for treatment and because the condition is deeply ingrained. Loved ones and neighbors seem more concerned about the living condition and the quality of life of someone who is hoarding than the actual hoarder.

Dr. Maryellen Curran, Ph.D, at Kaiser, Santa Rosa has led several groups for hoarders over the years. She has been able to develop treatment models that have been successful for people who are seeking help and who acknowledge that their hoarding is spinning out of control.

We are quite excited to offer a workshop on hoarding led by Dr. Curran on Sunday, September 25th at 1:00- 3:00 pm, in Guerneville. The workshop is open to the general public and will be hosted by the Metropolitan Community Church of the Redwood Empire.

If you would like to know more about hoarding, either because you have considered treatment yourself, or because you are concerned about a loved one, please join us. The suggested donation is $5.00 - $10.00, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds. If you can RSVP, please do so at 707-869-9882. The workshop will be held at the Odd Fellow’s Hall - 16219 First Street in Guerneville.

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Teaching Money Skills to Children

by Lee Alderman,
Assistant Vice President of Training & Financial Literacy, Redwood Credit Union

As back-to-school season begins, your children and teens will learn subjects such as English, math, history, and science. But what about financial management? Like many essential life skills, the basics of money management will come from you, their parents.

Raising children who are money-savvy— a challenging task for most parents—is perhaps even more difficult in today’s economy. However, the current economic environment makes basic money management skills more important then ever. Many financial leaders nationwide believe that a lack of basic financial understanding contributed significantly to the economic troubles we face today.

Parents as Teachers
As a parent, you can teach your children financial basics such as saving, earning, spending wisely, donating and even the concept of credit. More importantly, you have the opportunity to guide, cultivate, and reinforce sound financial habits to prepare them for managing their money in the future. Here are some suggested fundamentals to help you get started:

Early years, ages 3-7:
• Show them how to save coins using a clear jar or piggy bank that allows them to see the money “growing” inside.
• Explain how money is used to buy things. Consider letting them hand the clerk money when buying ice cream or other desirable items to demonstrate how money is exchanged for goods.
• Introduce the concept of saving for a goal. For example, if your family is planning a vacation to Disneyland. You can use this goal to discuss how you will skip buying items today so you can reach that goal sooner.

Pre-teens, ages 8–12:
• Introduce a weekly allowance and begin teaching the experience of paying for items with money they’ve earned.
• Familiarize them with what financial institutions do and help them open their own savings account.
• Explain the idea of “wants” versus “needs”—this concept plays a key role in making financial decisions.
Encourage them to save their own money for things they want, such as video games.

Teens, ages 13 – 18:
• Explain how credit cards work, and the pros (convenience) and cons (debt) of using them.
• Help your older teens open a checking account and teach them the skills—and necessity—of tracking your money through check registers or online banking.

Parents as Role Models
A parent’s job as role model is just as important as that of teacher. Your children learn a lot about how things work “in the real world” by watching your actions. If you pull out the credit card every time you buy something, they will learn that there’s no need to save as long as you have the “magic” plastic card.

Here are some additional recommendations to help you impart strong money skills to your children:
• Create a family budget with input from the whole family and allow your children to see where money comes from and where it goes.
• Set future financial goals as a family so your children begin to understand why unnecessary purchases, such as the latest fad toy, impact that family goal.
• Ask your children to help you as you pay monthly bills and help them understand why these payments must be made first.
• If the family decides to have a special movie and pizza night on the town (or any other similar expense), show your children how you decide what you can afford and how that impacts the family budget.

Education is an important part of every child’s life. In school, they develop intellectual and social skills that will last a lifetime. At home, they learn to help with chores, ride bikes, and a myriad of other skills. As parents, it’s important to ensure that one of these skills is basic money management as you help prepare your children for the future.

For additional tips on teaching your children to be money-smart, as well as online articles and exercises they will enjoy, visit

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Training Students to Bike to School

By Sarah Hadler
This beautiful late summer weather is the perfect time to get yourself and your child in the habit of biking to school. It will also help your family to gear up to celebrate International Walk and Roll to School Day on Wednesday, October 5th.

Last year, 73 schools and more than 10,600 students in Sonoma County participated. This year, we are expecting even more! If you would like information on how your school can join the fun please contact: Tina Panza at: or (707) 545-0153.

There are many reasons why it is good to bike to school: it’s healthy and a wonderful way for your child to get his/her daily exercise, it cuts down on traffic congestion around your school – and around town, it’s good for the environment, it saves money, it increases your child’s sense of independence, and -- my favorite reason -- it’s super fun!

Here are some tips and tools that will help get your family ready to bike to school.

Always be sure to do an “ABC Quick Check” before you ride; you can teach your child to do this as well. “A” stands for air, make sure the tires are pumped up; “B” stands for brakes, squeeze your brakes to make sure they work; “C” stands for chain, your chain should be well oiled and move smoothly when you pedal, and pants legs should be rolled up and shoe laces tucked in so they do not get caught in the chain; and lastly, check your quick releases on the wheels and seat to make sure they are tight.

Now, put on your helmet and make sure it fits snugly. The handy dandy two finger helmet check is key to a good helmet fit: there should be a two-finger space between your eyebrows and your helmet rim, next, make a “v” with your two fingers and that’s what your helmet straps below your ears should look like, and finally, no more than two fingers should fit between your chin and chin strap.

Wear bright colors --drivers will see you better.

Always ride on the right side of the road with traffic, even if your child is young and feels safer on the sidewalk.

Be careful around driveways and parked cars.

Always obey traffic signs and signals.

If you are riding at dawn, dusk or at night, you must have a front light and at least a red rear reflector, the more lights the better because you are safer when you are more visible.

For additional bicycle skills training, take Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition’s (BikeSonoma) “Street Skills for Bike Riders” class, and pass your skills along to your child. Teens ages 12 &
 up can take it, too. Info at

Remember that a half mile bike ride takes about 6 minutes, so you and your child might make it to school faster on bikes than in a car! There is great gear out there that makes it easier for you and your child to carry things on a bike. Consider getting a rear rack and some panniers (bags that hang on the rear rack) and your child’s ride to school will be even easier. Ask at your local bike store for some help in selecting the necessary equipment
Think about leading a bike train! Biking is always more fun with a friend or a group of friends and International Walk and Roll to School Day would be a great day to get a bike train started. Get together kids in your neighborhood or your child’s friends and choose one or two days of the week to bike to school together. Go over these tips about biking safely before you start out and you and your child will become biking experts before you know it

Sarah Hadler is a program manager for Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition’s Safe Routes to School Program

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Immerse Yourself 
in Films that Matter

The 25th Wine Country Film Festival - Wine Country’s original film festival - is now presenting the Santa Rosa International Film Festival (SRIFF), September 14 - 20.  This week-long celebration of cinema, the arts and cultural exchange will feature more than 100 films from around the world at Summerfield and 3rd Street Cinemas and The Roxy 14 in Santa Rosa. 

The festival Hospitality Lounge located at #1 Santa Rosa Avenue in downtown Santa Rosa will host a Launch Party September 9th (5PM-8PM), intimate receptions, Master Classes, an Art Exhibit, sponsors’ booths, and Happy Hours.

Additional films will be screened at Deerfield Ranch Winery in Kenwood, Sonoma Valley both outdoors under the starts and in the cave Grand Room.  At the movie nights at Deerfield Ranch Winery delicious food from local food trucks and restaurants and DRW wine by the glass or bottle will be available for purchase.  Please no outside food or drinks.  Low back chairs are welcome. Most nights at DRW there will be special events and live musical performances.

Three Santa Rosa host hotels - The Hilton, Courtyard Marriott and the Flamingo Resort are offering special rates packages. Contact each hotel for specifics. SRIFF offers six levels of passes, some of which include entry to culinary events, special screenings, master classes and VIP receptions with filmmakers and celebrities.
The Local Pass (for Kenwood, Oakmont, Glen Ellen, Sonoma and Santa Rosa residents) and Festival Pass Plus (reserved seat - slide past the velvet rope!) are the event’s most popular passes. Festival goers can also purchase tickets for each film on line or at the door.

For information go to or call the office 707. 935.3456.


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LETTERS to Readers, September 2011

September 2011

Dear Editor,
We have had several people call and stop by our wineryenraged about what is happening on the property next door to ours on Highway 116 North. The land has indeed been acquired by a winery that has chosen totake out what was previously planted and put in grapevines. People are upset about various things, such as trees being torn out to put in grapes and how the land was acquired. Those people have threatened to never purchase our wines and tell others to do the same because of what they THINK we are doing with the property. It is NOT our property, nor are we in any way involved in what is taking place on that land.

I would advise people to read the paper, do some research, get the facts and stop falsely accusing us of something they are upset about. Just because we are the only winery visible from the highway does not mean that we are the only winery here.
Barbara Paul
Owner, Graton Ridge Cellars

Dear Independent News Editors:
Does anyone remember when “Redwood Empire” was replaced with “Wine Country”?  This was a deceptive PR move by insiders that indicate the values that are being forwarded--wine over redwoods. So when it comes to getting important news in Sonoma County on environmental or socio-economic impacts of vineyards and wineries, one has to get it from the L.A. Times, the N.Y. Times (see links below), actually any Times or news source other than the Sonoma County’s own Press Democrat.  It is not a minor story that the largest conversion of redwoods to vineyards in recent history is taking place in our Sonoma County coastal area or that most Russian River tributaries are being sucked dry by grape to wine production. The so-called media of record, the PD, is not covering these stories. Instead, the PD regularly covers stories on individual wineries’ successes and wine/food pairings, etc.

The conversion of redwoods and redwood forest watersheds to vineyards and the drying up of fish bearing streams is a travesty most reasonable people would recognize.  But it is becoming more and more apparent that the travesty includes co-option of the PD to keep the redwoods conversions and the depleting water issue from being widely known in one’s own backyard. This is itself a travesty and concerned advertisers, subscribers, and readers of the PD need to take note and respond appropriately.

To get the news of historic redwoods conversions or turning rivers into wine here, you will have to go to our local independent newspapers or newspapers outside of the county like New York,  []
or Los Angeles  [,0,1321080.story].
Larry Hanson

If your computer tells you that “a critical error has occurred, etc.” or that Windows can’t find hard disk space. Hard drive error” or (this is the one that got me) “Critical Error.. Damaged hard drive clusters defected. Private data is at risk”


Those of us who live by our computer, are vulnerable. We had to engage professional help, pay her bill (well deserved) cancel our credit card and do all the hassle of dispute challenges..because we were convinced that our hard drive had been jeopardized.

Not being a computer person, I didn’t realize that there is NO REASON to give out your credit card information to Windows XP Repair. Thank goodness we have IT people, like Jade Patterson, who can purge our computers of this evil intrusion. When I called my credit card company, they acknowledged that the charge came from overseas (Bosnia is what I discerned..) and it was up to me to go to all the effort to dispute the charge. The phony service re-arranged all my icons; messed with my files, and generally raised havoc (and cost me a good bit..)
Joan Poulos
Bodega Bay

Dear Friends,
In a testament to the generosity of Sonoma County residents, the First Annual United Way Children’s Book Drive netted 5,118 books for needy kids and teens! This is the start of a beautiful partnership between the Free Bookmobile and United Way of the Wine Country, and a tremendous first result considering that the original goal was 1,000 books.
For all who put together donations from their family shelves, for all the Exchange Bank and JDSU staff who hosted the collection bins, and especially for the amazing United Way staff, we want to say a big heartfelt “Thank You”.

The books come at the perfect time.  Our direct outreach to low-income children’s programs really took flight beginning in July, as we served hundreds of toddlers, teens, and in-betweens at sites such as the 4Cs Child Development Centers, Boys & Girls Clubs, City of Santa Rosa Summer Recreation, and Redwood Empire Food Bank Summer Lunch.
Many of these youth have few, if any, books in their homes. But when they see the high quality titles they can choose on board the Free Bookmobile, their eyes light up. “It’s better than ice cream in their minds,” said one happy mom. We are helping shift the culture with enhanced access to knowledge!

Our expanded schedule has also brought additional volunteer opportunities. We are blessed with a great group of helpers (including the King Family, featured in the Press Democrat) and now have openings for assistants at the west Sebastopol book storage site. If you or someone you know would like to sort books and restock the ‘mobile, please reply to this email or visit the “Help Us!” page on our website.

Remember, you can always keep up with all the Sonoma County Free Bookmobile magic on our News page, as we continue our expansion of services during this summer of free book love! New upcoming give-away events include the River to Coast Children’s Services Kindergym programs and outreach to a variety of Senior Centers...
Thank you for your support!
Glen Weaver
Sonoma County Free Bookmobile
More than 25,000 books given away, and counting...

Dear Vesta and Gazette Readers,
The sun is out so readers probably won’t be thinking about flood insurance until winter approaches and the rains begin. But, since flood insurance is required year round, I thought I’d update readers on current legislation that will have a significant impact on our community. The current flood insurance program expires on September 30th and congress is currently debating what the future of flood insurance should look like. Readers need to take action now and let their Senators and Representative know that we need the National Flood Insurance Program reauthorized and refunded.

The NFIP (National Flood insurance Program) expired two times in 2010, which caused escrow closings to be held up, lapses in coverage, and lots of speculation about the continuation of the program. In an area like ours, the ability to obtain flood insurance is critical.

Current legislation being considered to reform the NFIP program might:
Require property owners whose policies lapse for lack of payment to pay actuarially sound rates to restart coverage- that means big increases!
Automatically adjust rates for inflation (no congressional vote required)
Provide loss of use and loss of income coverage (never before offered through NFIP)
Raise rates between 10-20% annually (that an average of approx. $120 to $240 per policy)

Property and business owners need to be aware of these potential changes and plan accordingly. There are several things you can do to mitigate your potential for flood loss, and reduce your flood insurance costs.

If you want to know more, contact your insurance agent, or call the flood insurance specialist at Gene Gaffney Insurance.
Enjoy summer,
Fawn Nekton
President- Gene Gaffney Insurance

Dear Vesta,
I just wanted to bring you and your readers up to date on exciting events taking place in the Sheephouse Creek watershed.

Over the last year, the Sotoyome Resource Conservation District (SRCD) has been conducting a survey of the rural roads associated with past timber activities in this watershed to identify sources of excessive sediment. The overall goal is to reduce sediment delivery and improve water quality for salmon and steelhead restoration. When I last spoke with Andy Casarez, the project manager for SRCD, he had met with CA Department of Fish and Game officials to review and explain his findings in the hope to receive grant funding which would allow much needed improvements.

Since 2001, a collaborative effort of public agencies and private landowners, known as the Russian River Coho Salmon Captive Broodstock Program, has been underway to re-establish Coho salmon in the Russian River and its tributaries. The first confirmation that Coho have successfully spawned in Sheephouse Creek was recently confirmed by Mariska Obedzinski/Coho Monitoring Coordinator. Biologists form UCSD performed a snorkel survey of Sheephouse Creek last month and counted 128+ wild juvenile Coho. The survey crew also observed juvenile Steelhead and documented another listed threatened species – the CA Red Legged Frog.

Efforts to restore our watersheds seem to be making an impact today. Regulatory agencies such as Cal Fire must consider individual plans for logging and timberland conversions to vineyards in the context of the larger forest and planning watershed in which they are located, so that biological diversity and watershed integrity are maintained and adverse cumulative impacts are reduced or eliminated. Continued exploitation of the resources in the watersheds of the Russian River basin will cause the most problems for native biodiversity and a moratorium should be enforced for them. The plant and animal species which have become threatened or endangered because of man’s activities need to be given a chance to recover.
Thank you,
Mike Keller
…on behalf of the “Friends of Sheephouse Creek”

It is useless to try logic with people who have become so desensitized that they don’t instinctively react with outrage at the idea of our local police using guns and tanks in an attempt to “reach the community” through its children via the “cool” factor as was just done in South Park

In his letter defending the police Mayor Ernesto Oliveres doesn’t mention the “brotherhood” that exists in law enforcement culture. That usually comes out during stressful situations like the many unnessary officer involved killings of civilians across the country. Our community has seen a lot of those over the years and like clock work the “blue wall of silence” comes up. I’ve been part of local groups monitoring these killings since the mid ‘90s and in not one case was there ever a public admission that any law officer was wrong or trigger happy even when the courts later disagreed.

Using “safety” as an excuse to indoctrinate our children is a specious argument. It’s the way to go if you want to further a macho gang mentality caused by racism and inequality. The harder path is creating a more just society but that won’t happen by showing off your guns and power to impress. If you really want to start a dialogue with our children then start by breaking your silence the next time one of your comrades takes an innocent life. Now, that would be impressive.
Mary Moore,
Camp Meeker

Mayor Ernesto Olivaros as you may remember is a former police officer and is protecting his own. If an ordinary citizen who had lawfully registered a semi automatic “assault” weapon allowed someone under the age of 18 to handle such a gun without the child’s parents giving written permission, the gunowner could be charged with a felony under California law. Why then can a police officer get away with letting a person under the age of 18 handle a selective fire weapon which is capable of either fully automatic fire or semi-autmatic fire without such parental release?

In a similar vein, several years ago the police in Santa Rosa arrested Food, Not Bombs several times for serving hot food to the homeless in a city park yet refused to cite the Sonoma County Law Enforcement Chaplaincy program when it did the same thing without the required permits to insure the safety of prepared food. Double standards all around
There needs to be a California Public Records Act request made of the City of Santa Rosa (and all other Sonoma jurisdictions) to find out just what weapons these government entities own and where they are acquiring them.
Irv Sutley

Help Community Market!
Does the opening of ‘Sprouts Farmers Market’ warrant an amendment to our city’s general plan?

Update: 7-27-2011
First, we would like to thank our customers for supporting us in our efforts to fight Sprout’s Farmers Market. Community Market exists to serve you and we are pleased that you return that enthusiasm and commitment. We will need your continued support in the next few months as this fight has only just begun.

Finally after months of waiting, organizing, and diligent participation the Planning commission voted on the amendment to change the zoning status of the Mendocino/Bicentennial marketplace. It was a divided vote; 4-3 in favor of the amendment change. Now, we know this seems like a loss but this is only the very beginning of a long process. This is simply a vote to recommend to the City Council an amendment to the General Plan.

We will have the opportunity to address our issues and concerns at that City Council meeting. The next step is to continue gathering supportive businesses and individuals to join us at that meeting, and meetings in the future. If this general Plan amendment is approved by the City Council, Sprouts will have to submit a formal design plan for approval. This will be another opportunity to share our concerns and vision for our city. Please be patient and continue to check our website for upcoming meeting dates/times and what you can do to help. Thank you for your continued support.
You can follow our progress at our web site:


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Monday, September 12, 2011

Why Heirlooms

By Vesta Copestakes There’s a movement afoot to bring back heirloom varieties of plants - especially plants that we eat - with plenty of good reasons why. Factory farming has not only robbed vegetables of ther flavor, the practice has also made plants vulnerable to disease and pests. Yes, genetically modified plants can be created to resist disease, but in all honesty, plants do that very well by themselves. It simply (I use that word lightly) requires time and a diversified environment. Put any plant in a monoculture and it will become vulnerable quickly.

Locally we have the Occidental Arts & Ecology Center ( which nutures all kind of plants from ones we eat to ones strictly for beauty. And they do it simply to preserve the specices. Down in Petlauma , Paul Wallace has dedicated his entrepreneurial energy to selling seeds and rootstock of pure varieties to encourage people to raise the plants that will sustain us over time...plants that have history, genes that have been strengthened over time through drought, disease and pest invasions.

Visit The Seed Bank on the corner of Washington St & Petaluma Boulevard in downtown Petaluma any time, or take some time to explore the Heirloom Exposisiton at the Sonoma County Fairgorunds on September 13, 14 & 15.

The festival features natural food vendors from seeds to tools and everything in between. There will be educational seminars to attend with experts in their fields, and workshops for people making a living out of maintaining the health and variety of our food sources. There will even be movies on the subejct such as Sonoma County Beekeepers’ Assoc. (SCBA), screening of ‘Vanishing ofthe Bees’.

You can get complete information by visiting or stop by The Seed Bank to take a look around, then pick up a brochure on everything that’s going on. Three days should give you enough time to do a bit of wandering and learning about how we can keep the healthiest and tastiest varieties of food on this planet for years to come. These passionate peole will help us all survive.

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Thursday, September 1, 2011

The JOY of Learning - Sonoma County Gazette

Summer is coming to a close and leaves are falling into - and filling - my gutters. Another year when I promise myself to put up gutter guards. All this means is that it’s time to switch our thinking to getting ready for winter wet and cold.

If you have school-age children, your energy focuses on getting them settled into another school year, or as in the case of my grand daughter - starting kindergarten. I miss all that because my daughter moved too far away for me to participate, but I can still clearly remember her first day of school. My parents came here to visit so they wouldn’t miss it. I wish I could do the same for Destiny...that’s her on the cover with the book we bought together when I was visiting this summer. It’s one of her favorites and my chance to share my love of insects with her.

I was fortunate to have a father who read to my sister and me every night before we went to bed when we were young. He started me out with the love of reading. It’s why I chose this month’s theme, The JOY of Learning.” I believe that the greatest gift you can offer a child is a passion for learning and the ability to read. These two skills carry a person into life with wide-open opportunities to explore new subjects.

Please follow the stories submitted by readers to inspired learning....ENJOY! ~ Vesta

LOOK What I Did!
Finding JOY in a Sense of Accomplishment

By Vesta Copestakes

Good Teacher...Bad Teacher
What makes teachers bad? They discourage the desire to learn. They fill children’s heads with so many rules they take the fun out of learning. They tell a child that they have no talent in the one thing that brings joy. They test and test and test until a kid doesn’t care any more about what s/he does or does not know.

Here’s a little tale about a student who was discouraged when she was a child and later triumphed as an adult. That’s what I want to accomplish here. Get over it. The teacher was WRONG!

Annie’s story…
I was in the 3rd grade and every Friday, an “art teacher” came to our classroom, drew something on the chalkboard and ordered us to copy EXACTLY what was on the board. Those who didn’t succeed were struck with her ruler on the hands.

One day she stopped at my desk and screamed in anger “ You will NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVER (3 “evers”) be able to do ANY art! You are the WORST student I have ever had!”....followed by the requisite blows. The tragedy was that I BELEIVED HER for 50 years!

Then one day my friend Terry Dolan Magill, a wonderful watercolor artist and teacher said “hey Annie---let’s go paint!” Out of my mouth burst from my inner-most soul....”Oh NO, I can’t paint! I’ll NEVER be able to paint!”

Terry calmly said “bullshit,” led me outside her home in Valley Ford, handed me a brush, paints, water, and paper, and said “PAINT”! So I did.

My biggest regrets are that I avoided any opportunity to experience the joys of making art for all those years, and also realizing how many children had been hurt by such cruel teaching.
My biggest JOY lies with having hit the ground running at a late age and I absolutely revel in the privilege of turning “non-artists” into artists How wonderful that is!

Silence the Criticism
When people tell me they can’t write, I tell them to get the teacher off your shoulder. Write like you talk...forget all the rules about grammar, etc.. What you want is to give your heart and your head free reign,…you can edit later.

And that’s what the best writing teacher I ever had instructed me...“stream-of-consciousness” she called it. Unfettered by thinking about WHAT you are doing WHILE you are doing it. Silence every person who ever told you you can’t do something - including yourself! and just do it.

Inspiring Teachers
The best teachers are ones who get you excited about learning. In the land of words, reading teaches best. The more you read, the better you write because you experience over and over how sentences communicate well. Lucky people are those who learned to read & never stopped reading for fun.

 Annie Murphy Springer is one of those inspiring teachers…she knows what it’s like to be shut down and what it feels like to be set free. Her water color students are often people who never touched a paint brush in their lives and Annie makes them believe they can create art.

Whether it’s writing, creating art, playing music, building, gardening, crossing a line you were once afraid to gain a sense of “Look what I did!” even if there’s no one around to see. The biggest challenge is starting. Once you’ve begun you wonder what took you so long.

Annie has classes all the time and is starting a series at the Sonoma County Museum starting September 14. Jenn runs classes in her store constantly and has parties to warm people into the concept...try’ll like it.

“I keep those paintings I did in Annie’s class as a wonderful reminder of that experience. When I look at my crude work, I remember and feel the pleasure of doing it.” ~ Linda Curry

Annie Murphy Springer 
The Wonders of Watercolor
(707) 876 3211

Another inspiring teacher is Jen Balletto of Glass Fusion Studio in Sebastopol. Her students glow with a sense of accomplishment and take the thing they made home with them, use it in their daily lives and feel that thrill of accomplishment over and over.

“So much fun learning. It is a totally mesmerizing experience, and the social aspect is precious. The ability to start a creative venture that leads into more with the passion growing is fantastic.” ~ Linny

Jen Balletto
Glassfusion Studio
6906 Sebastopol Ave., Sebastopol
707.829.3855 •

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Sonoma's Recycled Water Storage Project

By Brad Sherwood
The Sonoma County Water Agency which manages the Sonoma Valley County Sanitation District will increase recycled water storage capacity by constructing the Reservoir 5 Project (north of and adjacent to the District’s treatment plant located at 22675 8th Street East, Sonoma, CA. Reservoir 5 will expand the District’s recycled water storage by 37 million gallons – the District currently stores approximately 200 million gallons in four existing storage reservoirs. This increased capacity is necessary to enhance the District’s ability to utilize recycled water for irrigation purposes.

Reservoir 5 will cost $2.3 million and is being financed by $600,000 in federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) funding through the North Bay Water Reuse Authority (Authority). The Authority includes five local agencies in the North San Pablo Bay region, including the Water Agency, formed to put recycled water to its broadest and most beneficial use. The remaining $1.3 million is financed through the District’s Capital Improvement Plan. Construction activities began earlier this month and Reservoir 5 is slated for completion in December 2011. Ford Construction of Lodi, CA was selected to construct Reservoir 5 and it is estimated to create 10 jobs during the construction phase.

During the dry weather months of May through October, the District currently provides recycled water to users including vineyards, dairies, and pasturelands. The existing users are located in the southern end of Sonoma Valley, southeast of Schellville in the Carneros region. The District currently has four recycled water reservoirs that store recycled water until it can be used for irrigation.

Reservoir 5’s additional 37 million gallons provides operational flexibility and irrigation capacity which will allow the District to continue to:
• Reduce the discharge of treated wastewater into Schell Slough and San Pablo Bay
• Provide recycled water in compliance with federal and state regulations
• Offset peak water demand in Sonoma Valley
• Offset groundwater use for potable or agricultural purposes that may be stressing aquifer conditions in some areas of Sonoma Valley

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Sebastopol Students Lead Us to Connect

By Lucas Oshun
Global Student Embassy (GSE) is now beginning our fourth year of youth leadership and grassroots international relations. As a director of programs, I am continuously inspired by the commitment of students, teachers and community members who volunteer their time. The energy and determination participants of all ages bring to GSE projects in California, Tanzania, and Ecuador shows us that we are tapping into something real. We support each other’s goals, and we accomplish a lot.

Please join us on Saturday, November 5 at 6:30 pm at the Sebastopol Community Center for dinner, live music and a silent auction. This is Global Student Embassy’s fourth annual benefit event. We greatly appreciate your support and interest in our mission!

Local to International
Sonoma County: GSE will launch its Environmental Action and Youth Leadership Program this fall, in partnership with the Sonoma Land Trust and local Sonoma County Resource Conservation Districts (RCD). The program will provide hands-on experiences for Windsor, Sebastopol, and other Sonoma County high school students in habitat restoration work and organic gardening projects.

Marin County: This fall, we will work with students at Sir Francis Drake and Redwood High Schools cultivating ecological literacy through school garden projects and native habitat restoration. Students at both high schools will also participate in bimonthly meetings to prepare for the winter visit of international students from Ecuador and Tanzania. Visiting students will stay at the homes of GSE students and partner on projects designed by Marin GSE participants.

Ecuador: We’ve just returned from Bahia de Caraquez, where students from California and Ecuador dove into a number of projects with great enthusiasm and openess towards one another. Together we worked on GSE’s reforestation project, put our energy into caring for two organic gardens at local high schools and designed a workshop series, in Spanish, on gardening. Students also built a greenhouse to support ongoing germination of native species for reforestation with the goal of producing 3,000 new seedlings for the 2012 planting season.

Tanzania: GSE Tanzania began this summer’s exchange program with a stay in a Maasai community outside the Morogoro city limits. The experience was life changing; we learned so much from these folks whose culture is so different from our own. Together we established a library, planted a fruit orchard and painted a mural representing the value and beauty of education. We connected with one another on so many levels. We all were grateful and felt deeply rewarded to have been welcomed so kindly into this amazing community.

In Morogoro we reconnected with our friends at Kilakala and Mzumbe Secondary Schools to continue work on the projects we began during our 2010 exchange. At Kilakala, students built a greenhouse and created art signs to use as educational tools, depicting the process of grafting, tree planting, compost-making, and maintaining tree health. We worked to upgrade Mzumbe’s poultry project by building a garden that will complement its mini-farm. Manure from the chickens will fertilize the garden, and produce grown in the adjacent garden will provide nutrients for the chickens. Students worked together to install efficient drip irrigation, a practice that is uncommon in Tanzania. We are eager to hear progress on these projects!

We have many local volunteer opportunities to work with students and community members on restoration projects and gardens, as well as contributing to our annual exchange in January and February when visiting students are here in Sonoma County.

To get involved: please contact us at Donations can be made online at

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