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Petaluma - Penngrove Picks - June 2015


Petaluma - Penngrove Picks - June 2015

by Lyndi Brown

I have enjoyed covering PTown and PGrove, since my first column in May 2013 (I think it was). Herb Caen once called me “a Petaluma rooster booster” and I’ll always be one. But it’s time to pass on the PTown pen. After the June issue wraps up, Vesta and I will talk about the PGrove end of things. Meanwhile, many thanks for reading and sharing your doings with me!

Rivertown Revival – Volunteer Team Fun

Ever gone to the Rivertown Revival? Then you know it’s a fabulous day of art, live music, food, and steam-punk gaiety – set for July 18. You can help get things ready! Volunteer with an amazing team, every Sunday (June to July 19 wrap-up), at Steamer Landing Park, Petaluma from 10 am – 2 pm. Free lunch is included. 

Edgar Degas: The Private Impressionist

A special exhibit of Works on Paper by the Artist and his Circle is on view at Petaluma Arts Center, June 20 - July 26. No driving to SF, parking and traffic! You’ll see more than 100 works on paper, including 40 drawings, prints and pastels by Degas; and works on paper by artists in his circle: Cassatt, Cezanne, Jean- Ingres and Toulouse-Lautrec. The exhibit is organized by Landau Traveling Exhibitions in LA and Denenberg Fine Arts in Hollywood. All art is from the private collection of Robert Flynn Johnson, Curator Emeritus of the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. There is a modest $10 exhibition entry fee. A Members’ Only Preview is June 18 at 5:30 pm, $25. The Gala Opening, is June 19 from 7 to 10 pm, $100, Members $75. A Opening Reception is June 20 from 5 to 8 pm,  $10 / Free for Members. Advance tickets for all events and exhibit entry are encouraged at Brown Paper Tickets; or see

PENNGROVE – Fire! Trains! Parades! Mayhem!

FIRE! - I was out of town when the biggest news in ages hit PGrove: a fire on May 7th damaged the PennGrove Market building in the town’s epicenter. At press time, plywood covers the windows of Superburger, Penngrove Market and Passinisi’s Home & Garden.  There are still many unknowns, including insurance coverage, County codes and the property owner figuring whether to restore or rebuild the 1882 building (which has many problems). Because we’re a town that sticks together through thick and thin, a crowdfunding campaign has started to show support and help these essential businesses, at As one passerby stated to market operator Tarun Gaur “Dude, we need you guys here!”


On Tuesday May 5th, a public meeting was held at the Penngrove Clubhouse to discuss the impact of SMART trains and newly-installed medians near crossings in the greater Penngrove area. Present were members of the SMART train team,  Supervisor David Rabbit, a Sonoma County representative, Frank Treanor (Fire Chief for Rancho Adobe District),  and business and community members. 

A panel of the above folks expressed interest and concerns about the medians, impact/safety  on businesses,  driving/walking conditions and impacts on the annual Penngrove Celebration Parade (July 5).

The meeting’s goal was to ask SMART train officials to listen to suggestions on how to improve medians for overall safety.  The floor was opened up to attendees to voice opinions, discuss the issue of “quiet zones”, visibility of medians, and how medians will affect the parade logistics.  

Because Sonoma County is a quiet zone, trains will not sound a horn at crossings. Medians protect pedestrians and keep cars safe. Imagine a train traveling 40+ miles per hour with no warning horn!

Concerns included safe space for parade spectators. Because medians split the street in half, vehicles will have to proceed on one half of Main Street, and decrease space for spectators on sidewalks. 

Another concern is the impact of medians on local farmers, who are unable to move their equipment safely around the medians. 

Pedestrian movement is a concern. As the trains pass through these intersections at 40+ miles per hour, how will walkers be protected without barriers.

By meeting’s end, SMART officials promised to replace the concrete medians with rubber medians (before Parade day) to allow traffic to run over the rubber without damaging vehicles.  A walk-about of railroad crossings (at Main St. and Woodward intersections, Ely Rd. and Adobe Rd.) was set for May 28, so stay tuned for more outcomes.

Thank you to Christie Brindmore for providing this summary!

Penngrove Celebration – July 4-5

Penngrove goes all out on this holiday weekend, and you can join in. On July 4th breakfast is served by Rancho Adobe Fire District from 7 to 11 am at the fire station at Main and Old Redwood Hwy. On Sunday, July 5 it’s the 39th annual  “The Biggest Little Parade” at 11 am, followed by fun in the park. Tasty old fashion pit beef Bar BQ and Stan’s BQ chicken. There are craft booths, games, and music by Charley Baker. Proceeds from Sunday events support improvements to the Penngrove Park by Penngrove Social Firemen. p.s. Sorry, no dogs (per County health code); outside food & drink are not permitted in the park on Sunday. 

Play Ball  

A girls’ softball team is practicing and playing ball on the newly refurbished Field of Dreams at Penngrove Park. Many partners helped make it happen for NorCal Impact 14 under Team. Donations of funds and labor came from many people, including Penngrove Social Firemen club members Ed Grossi, Dennis Barella, Fred Cincera, the DeCarli Family, and many more. It’s great to hear the game in play again. Penngrove Park has a long history of ball-playing. Things started up with some PG Volunteer Fire Department member, who returned from WWII. They formed a ball team as they had prior to the war. They were eager to have a new ball field, and a park for community. They formed an auxiliary organization, Penngrove Social Firemen, and raised funds to buy the former Purrington property. Local families offered unsecured loan and donated  old farm equipment for auction. That’s how it still works in Penngrove. The Park and Clubhouse are privately owned and maintained by our community, for our community’s enjoyment. No tax dollars or grants