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Stories from our current edition are listed below. To view our archives, link here.

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2017-12-08Dec 8, 2017
Sonoma County has so many organizations covering a huge variety of garden interests. From fuchsias to farming, you can find your gardening community here!
2017-11-30Nov 30, 2017
To provide a financial boost for those affected by the Sonoma County fires, the Chronicle Season of Sharing Fund (SOS) is offering special assistance grants to low-income residents for up to $3000. The grants aim to help those who lost possessions, jobs or income due to the fires: get or keep housing by paying a month’s mortgage, rent or security deposit; cover utility bills; buy essential household furniture, a wheelchair or other vital health aids; or cover costs of medically required dental care and non-routine automotive repairs for critically needed transportation.
2017-11-30Nov 30, 2017
As Santa Rosa recovers from the unprecedented wildfires disaster, it is our top priority to help those affected by the rebuilding process. We’d like to share a few updates and new resources that provide assistance and answer questions regarding the fire recovery efforts.
2017-11-30Nov 30, 2017
I’m a “MeToo,” surviving shaming and blaming cycles, suicidal depression, fear of telling, PTSDs. Recovery required years of in-depth psychological counsel (ShadowWork), emotional release bodywork, spiritual healing. The past 30 years, I’ve been helping deliver others from their injurious histories, towards fulfilling, response-able lifestyles –and educating about the roots of sexual predation in self-sabotaging societal mores.
2017-11-29Nov 29, 2017
In his book Drawdown, Paul Hawken lists food waste as the third largest combatible cause of climate change. His research indicates that with a 50% reduction in food waste by 2050, we could reduce emissions equal to 26.2 gigatons of carbon dioxide, or 8% of greenhouse gases.
2017-11-28Nov 28, 2017
From Farm Trails to Holiday Movie Night, check out our complete listing of holiday events that will entertain the entire family.
2017-11-27Nov 27, 2017
Small Shops of Sonoma County is an annual TRADITION that goes back 15 years. Like all traditions, we like to be consistent - that’s part of what makes it areal tradition. The consistency here is supporting locally-owned businesses who support our local economy by keeping your money right here at home.
2017-11-27Nov 27, 2017
Season  & Performance Tickets make great holiday gifts. Slip them inside a glass with a bottle of wine, beer, cider, a box of locally made food, a jar of popcorn kernels, wrapped around candy bars, whatever creative way you care to dress up a small package with a large experience inside.
2017-11-27Nov 27, 2017
Nature creates the best gifts!  Fall-planted bulbs are now available in our loccal nurseries*, and there are many ways to plant and gift them.  Here are 3 easy and lovely ways.
2017-11-27Nov 27, 2017
The holidays are all about gift giving, right? Buy every family member and friend something they may or may not need as a way to show them that you love them. Make sure there aren’t any empty spaces under the tree. Fill that stocking to the brim. Get your kids every single toy on their wish list. You’ll make room for it all somehow.
2017-11-27Nov 27, 2017
Let’s be honest, not all of us enjoy holiday shopping. Actually, some of us dread it. The stress of crowds, finding parking, waiting in lines, being assaulted by fluorescent lights and pushy customers is enough to give you an anxiety attack. At least that’s what shopping is like for me, so I avoid it at all costs. I prefer a more passive approach.
2017-12-08Dec 8, 2017
Hardscaping is the foundation of a beautiful landscape. Lumber, rocks, pavers, sand, mulch -- you'll find everything you'll need to create a beautiful garden for hours of outdoor enjoyment.
2017-11-27Nov 27, 2017
A few weeks after the fires were over, I attended a wedding reception for one of my cousins in the East Bay. She was registered at a high-end department store. The closest store is in San Francisco, but I was able to look at her registry online, listing expensive china and kitchen items. My cousin is in her 50’s, has money, has been married before. She doesn’t need these things.
2017-11-27Nov 27, 2017
Even before the fires, oaks needed help. Populations have been in decline with seedlings and young trees nearly absent. The number of oaks killed by the fires is not known, but it is clear that many have died.
2017-11-26Nov 26, 2017
Every year for the last 8 years, Leslie Curchack has published a calendar of her photographs and donated the proceeds to Daily Acts, a nonprofit sustainability group started by Trathen Heckman 17 years ago.
2017-11-26Nov 26, 2017
Artists, crafters, people who just love make things - music, food and festivities are all part of Holiday Craft Fairs throughout Sonoma County. Come enjoy finding truly unique gifts while supporting artisans and communities.
2017-11-25Nov 25, 2017
In 1992, a retired truck driver named Teri Horton paid five dollars for a painting from a southern California thrift store to give as a gag gift to a friend. An incomprehensible series of dots, blotches and streaks, her friend refused her gift and Horton ending up trying to unload the gangly canvas at a yard sale.
2017-11-24Nov 24, 2017
Saturn changes sign about every 2-3 years. It’s been in Sagittarius since December 2014, with a brief return to Scorpio from June-September 2015. This month it will enter Capricorn.
2017-11-24Nov 24, 2017
COMPOST: Technically speaking, compost is organic matter that has decomposed. The easiest way to make compost is to pile up garden refuse (plus kitchen vegetable and fruit scraps if you’re inclined) then wait a year.
2017-11-24Nov 24, 2017
It’s that time of the year to spend as much time as you can with your family. The most fun way is to see a movie or play together. Movies you must see with your family include “Star Wars the Last Jedi” starring Mark Hamill and Daisy Ridley.
2017-11-24Nov 24, 2017
Outspoken, enraged Congresswoman Frederica Wilson reminds me of another tough old bird named Bela Abzug, who also wore big hats! It was one of the things we did in the Women’s Movement in the 1960’s and 1970’s.
2017-11-24Nov 24, 2017
The Holidays are upon us: How did the time fly by us so quickly? I suppose it is time to bring out the Xmas décor as Thanksgiving doesn’t leave much décor except pretty pumpkins adorning my diningroom table. Speaking of Christmas... how many of you are going to be running around purchasing gifts this year? 
2017-12-08Dec 8, 2017
There is no shortage of classes on just about any subject related to gardening, water conservation, beekeeping, botany, planting techniques, composting and canning. This list is a good place to start your gardening education!
2017-11-24Nov 24, 2017
As a young woman living in Dayton, Ohio, Cleveland-born Nancy Wright sat in with John Lee Hooker at the venue Gilly’s, leading to an invitation to join his band on the road.
2017-11-24Nov 24, 2017
Blessings to you all as we enter into the darker colder days of December, which is exactly why ‘gift giving’ at this time of year can bring much cheer. Gifts come in many ways, shapes, and sizes for the many occasions celebrated this time of year.
2017-11-24Nov 24, 2017
This year has gone by so fast, but not fast enough. As I’m sure most of you are, I’m ready to forget 2017 and move on to 2018.
2017-11-24Nov 24, 2017
Marylu Downing is one of Sonoma County’s best known painters, and with good reason: Her work has appeared on book covers, posters, cd’s, tee shirts and hangs in hundreds of homes here and worldwide.
2017-11-24Nov 24, 2017
At last count, Sonoma County had over twenty active theatre companies, ranging from the nomadic Pegasus Theatre Company to the theatre departments of the two local institutions of higher learning.
2017-11-24Nov 24, 2017
The holiday season always makes me happy for citrus season. As young adults, my brother and I would give citrus as gifts. Not having much money, it makes a great gift.
2017-11-24Nov 24, 2017
Rain! Precious rain! A blessing that fills our creeks & rivers and recharges the over-spent aquifers. The showers we have recently experienced are an indicator that our winter storm cycles are upon us, and that we can finally breathe a sigh of relief as our fire-fears are extinguished.
2017-11-24Nov 24, 2017
The major astronomical event this month occurs on December 21st at 8:16 am, when Earth’sNorthern Hemisphere will be tilted away from the sun at it’s greatest angle – known asThe Winter Solstice. Typically this is also the shortest day of the year and conversely the longest night of the year.
2017-11-24Nov 24, 2017
Why would you shop anywhere this season but groovy Guerneville? Our town is no longer limited to just our fabulous restaurants, wine and art galleries…have you been inside our local merchandise stores recently? If not, take a stroll down Main Street... there is something for everyone!
2017-11-24Nov 24, 2017
I have a great story of a gift. Years ago the Chamber requested money from the Community Fund to pick up trash in downtown Forestville. The grant paid JD Kawai, famous about town for his bikes and friendly banter, to take on this task. He did a great job of making the town spiffy, no more piles of cigarette butts or bits of flotsam here and there. We looked like someone cared.  
2017-12-08Dec 8, 2017
Gardens aren't merely for plants and soil. Don't forget about furniture, statues, sculptures, whimsical metal animals, old toys and rusty farm equipment to decorate your garden. 
2017-11-24Nov 24, 2017
With the return of fall rains the risk of wildfires has thankfully been reduced. We ask that you continue to follow regulations when it comes to open burning. Remember the process to have a control burn is to have a Valid Burn Permit.
2017-11-24Nov 24, 2017
It’s that time of the year to spend as much time as you can with your family. The most fun way is to see a movie or play together. Movies you must see with your family include “Star Wars the Last Jedi” starring Mark Hamill and Daisy Ridley.
2017-11-24Nov 24, 2017
Rain is falling gently as I write this from inside of my cosy cyber-hut. We are happy that the forest has become damp again and breathe a bit easier to have some of the fire danger lowered!
2017-11-24Nov 24, 2017
When you tell people you live in Bodega Bay, only the old-timers equate it with “The Birds”. Most of those who live in California (but inland) think of crab, fishing, birding, and tourist attractions (like beaches and kayaks). Of course we now have a new topic: fires and recovery.
2017-11-23Nov 23, 2017
The Sebastopol Center for the Arts has announced its hire of Anjana Utarid as its new Executive Director, replacing Linda Galletta, who served the post for 30 years prior to her retirement in August.  
2017-11-23Nov 23, 2017
With great appreciation for his professional service and dedication, our community wishes the very best to retiring Police Chief Jeff Weaver.  
2017-11-23Nov 23, 2017
The Lower River Homeless Task Force committee was asked to decide how to best utilize $750,000 of the $1m allocated by the County for fiscal year 2017-2018, to try and help solve the Lower River homeless problem. 
2017-11-23Nov 23, 2017
This will be our first post-fire holiday. I’m feeling the giving spirit in new ways. I hope to share experiences with friends and family, and I found a few fun things to do this season.
2017-11-23Nov 23, 2017
The return of the rains has been most welcome. The creeks are talking to us again. I noticed yesterday the little waterfall on Graton Rd. has returned for the winter. All the vegetation has been washed of its accumulated dust and ash bringing out the vibrant colors of the fall.
2017-11-23Nov 23, 2017
It has been voted and recommended that the Patrick McCaffrey Foundation receive $300,000 for building tiny houses, buying land, having an outreach team, and transporting folks as needed - thus saving vital services for locals living between Sea Ranch and Forestville.
2017-12-08Dec 8, 2017
One stop shopping for all your gardening needs! Visit one of the many garden centers in Sonoma County for plants, soil and gardening equipment.
2017-11-23Nov 23, 2017
This is the first real visual change that I have seen at the site for Green Valley Village on Edison and Bowen. The development project moves forward with the removal of trees to clear space and the grading portion of the project is permitte
2017-11-23Nov 23, 2017
Officers helped with the fire evacuations and safety patrols of evacuated areas. Our law enforcement dispatchers relieved exhausted dispatchers at the County Sheriff’s office during the fires.  
2017-11-23Nov 23, 2017
Christmas already? Where did the time go? Never fear – you’ve got a few weeks to get it all done. So get you some hot cocoa, curl up under a blanket by the stove and plan your shopping. If you’re really lucky, there’s a nice rain coming down while you read this.  
2017-11-22Nov 22, 2017
As the rainy season starts, multiple state, regional and local agencies are preparing for the potential impacts of the recent wildfires on our communities.
2017-11-22Nov 22, 2017
2017-11-22Nov 22, 2017
As we cope with the massive impact of the fires in our community, the current and future health impacts have started to come into focus.
2017-11-22Nov 22, 2017
I am grateful for many things: My family, my friends, my community, my home… and the many, many other blessings that fill my life.
2017-11-22Nov 22, 2017
How did the Bird Rescue Center fare in the fires? Fortunately, ours is a story of Bravery and Hope.  
2017-11-22Nov 22, 2017
Public messages across the community abound showing thanks and blessings to the thousands of firefighters, police, and service workers who worked to save the Springs from being incinerated.
2017-11-22Nov 22, 2017
“We attach to the landscape,” said Robert Macy at a November 9 event, titled“Emerging Stronger Together,” held at Altimira School. “Our memories are attached to the land.”
2017-12-07Dec 7, 2017
The new ParkSMART shuttle will connect the Downtown SMART train station and Railroad Square to Santa Rosa Downtown’s parking garages, shops, restaurants and Old Courthouse Square for FREE.
2017-11-22Nov 22, 2017
Santa Rosa Fire Update: Fires are 100% Contained: It has been one month since fires broke out in Santa Rosa and surrounding areas, and to give you an idea of the magnitude of the fire,The Tubbs fire burned down 4,658 homes in the Santa Rosa area, including Fountaingrove, Coffey Park, and Larkfield and is the most destructive of the Sonoma County fires.
2017-11-22Nov 22, 2017
Over 20 people from Roseland helped on the “Make a Difference Day” efforts for the Roseland Neighbor Wood andRoseland Creek held on Saturday Oct. 28, 2017. They were part of a larger Roseland Beautification effort held in collaboration with the Community Action Partnership andLand Paths.
2017-11-22Nov 22, 2017
The fires that tore through Sonoma County were absolutely devastating. If your home, personal property or business have been affected by the fires and the repair or replacement costs for these items are not covered fully by insurance then reach out to theSmall Business Administration.
2017-11-22Nov 22, 2017
Come December, Petaluma turns into a winter wonderland, even offering a bit of “snowfall” if you are in the right place at the right time. Visit PetalumaDowntown.com and VisitPetaluma.com for more info all these free events....  
2017-11-22Nov 22, 2017
As Sonoma County begins the process of recovering and rebuilding after the wildfires that ravaged many neighborhoods and parklands, organizations continue to do vital outreach to the community.
2017-11-22Nov 22, 2017
Beginning this month the Healdsburg Coalition takes a turn writing the monthly community column. Thanks to those who came before us for representing Healdsburg well and to Vesta for this opportunity to highlight monthly issues especially pertinent to our local community.
2017-11-22Nov 22, 2017
After the conflagrations of last month, the rains have brought welcome relief to Sonoma County. In most places they were gentle enough to start to teach the baked earth how to receive moisture again instead of turning slopes into mudslides.
2017-11-22Nov 22, 2017
“And then there were none!” I would love to write that, but right now I can only write, “And then there was one.” And that one is the US, the second largest emitter of greenhouse gases emissions (per capita the first), which last June said it would pull out of the Paris Climate Accords.
2017-11-22Nov 22, 2017
Great little teddy bears made by volunteers will be given to children affected by the recent fires and bolt fabric+home at 219 North Cloverdale Blvd. is joining other fabric stores in hosting these volunteers as they sew.
2017-11-21Nov 21, 2017
When Fourth District Supervisor James Gore takes the reins as Chair of the Board of Supervisors this month, he follows in the footsteps of young Sonoma County leaders who have changed the face and complexion of the region from the coast to the inland valleys.
2017-12-06Dec 6, 2017
I write this as a concerned constituent of the marijuana community in Sonoma County. Having worked with several industry leaders and businesses, I am deeply concerned about the well-being of Sonoma County’s marijuana industry and understand the importance of protecting small-scale farmers. The medical-marijuana industry may soon lose its protection from federal recourse by December 8th if Congress has not approved a new budget including the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment.
2017-11-21Nov 21, 2017
Following several years of drought, 2015 was a low-yield year, however, those low yields produced, in some cases truly exquisite wines. Here’s a line up I had the great opportunity of tasting from Tom Mackey Cellars who source their grapes from three Sonoma Vineyards: Monticello Vineyard, Wild Oak Vineyard and Woolard Vineyard.  
2017-11-21Nov 21, 2017
As people return to evacuated areas and visit their homes, many are finding nothing more than ashes where once stood their family home filled with memories and treasured possessions.
2017-11-21Nov 21, 2017
Even before the smoke cleared, people were talking about rebuilding Sonoma County.
2017-11-21Nov 21, 2017
What good can ever come from a call at 2 A.M. in the morning! The night of October 9th, I went to bed after hearing all the media noises over the possibilities of nuclear attack reaching California from North Korea.
2017-11-21Nov 21, 2017
It’s been a challenging few weeks, but County staff and your Board of Supervisors have all been working hard to help residents recover from the series of fires that battered our County beginning October 8.
2017-11-21Nov 21, 2017
This is a personal account of the Cannabis Advisory Board Meeting held at the Permit Resource Management Department(PRMD) in Santa Rosa on Wednesday 9/27/17. I was delayed in writing this because of the fire, but I believe my personal perspective is of value to readers.  
2017-11-21Nov 21, 2017
The first U.S. Government-funded study investigating prenatal neurological damage from fluoride, Prenatal Fluoride Exposure and Cognitive Outcomes in Children at 4 and 6–12 Years of Age in Mexico, finds that each 0.5 part per million (ppm) increase in a pregnant woman’s urine fluoride levels reduced her child’s IQ by 2.5 - 3 points.*
2017-11-21Nov 21, 2017
I propose a different approach to solving the homeless crisis. We obtain a large piece of land (500 acres) in a remote part of the county. On this isolated land we build a community from the ground up. We build a community in which we construct – everything.
2017-11-21Nov 21, 2017
We encourage dialogue among our readers and with us. Please send your LETTERS to vesta@sonic.net
2017-11-21Nov 21, 2017
The holiday season is a time for sharing heartwarming stories and helping those in need. What better time to consider our young immigrants who have DACA – that Obama-era reprieve from deportation that will expire in three months, unless our federal government takes action.
2017-12-01Dec 1, 2017
The Holiday Season is upon us. That means not only shopping, decorations and more shopping, but also a slew of Christmas movie reruns and live shows. Cloverdale Performing Arts Center's contribution to the latter category isNutcracker . . . The Musical, a whimsical retelling of the classic ballet that's bound to entertain every member of your extended family.
2017-11-21Nov 21, 2017
The impact of a specific traumatic event, such as a fire, has life-changing repercussions. The questions that often arise is what can the various support services do for those whose life-course is damaged.
2017-11-21Nov 21, 2017
Culinary lore claims that an early version of the fruit cake was placed on the tombs of loved ones, by the ancient Egyptians. This was to provide nourishment throughout the deceased’s eternal journey.
2017-11-21Nov 21, 2017
As I write this, the ground is wet and the clouds dispersing after the first rains. Not long ago, the landscape was on fire and smoke was everywhere. Now Sonoma County is recovering, rebuilding and restoring our communities and landscape. Our world has shifted again.
2017-11-21Nov 21, 2017
When most people think about cannabis cultivation, it conjures up an image of a warehouse filled with rows of plants growing under the glow of artificial light. The operation consumes electricity. A lot of it. And the carefully controlled growing environment feels more like an industrial manufacturing facility.
2017-11-21Nov 21, 2017
Many people have asked me, “How have the birds done in the fires? What did they do?” This is a very complicated question. There are many different species of birds and they each have their unique adaptations to different environments. However, fire isn’t anything new that birds and other wildlife have not encountered in the past.
2017-11-21Nov 21, 2017
In the September 2017 edition, I addressed the underlying principles of the new cannabis law. Specifically, we looked at: 1)how the product can be legally used for recreational purposes; 2) how it will be regulated on the state level (overseen by three California state bureaucracies); and 3) how our Sonoma County Board of Supervisors have passed several ordinances addressing taxation and land use issues.
2017-11-20Nov 20, 2017
As the recent North Bay fires raged, confusion, grief and shock gripped the entire community. In the depths of this chaos, local businesses, farmers, chefs, and wellness professionals came together to support the evacuees, volunteers and first responders with hot meals, holistic services, child care, and moral support. It was truly inspiring to see the care and generosity of the people who rallied offering so much support that within three days of the outbreak places were turning away donations and volunteers.
2017-11-16Nov 16, 2017
On a rainy night in early November, about 60 area high school students gathered at Montgomery High School to share innovative ideas about creating a better, more sustainable future at the Center for Climate Protection's (CCP) fifth annual Green Teen Gathering.
2017-11-16Nov 16, 2017
NBC Bay Area / KNTV will team up with Safeway’s “Feed the Need” food drive onSaturday, November 18kicking off amonth- long effort to fight hunger in the Bay Area. This year’s food drive includes the collaboration of seven local food banks including Redwood Empire and Napa Valley food banks which have an increased need for food assistance for those impacted by the North Bay wildfires. The “Feed the Need” food drive will take place at 167 Safeway locations throughout the Bay Areathrough December 26.
2017-12-01Dec 1, 2017
FEMA and SBA Deadline to Register for Assistance cannot be extended. Whether people need the funding now, or in 18 months for rental assistance, child care, medical expenses, etc. there is a firm cap of $34,000  per household for renters as well as homeowners. The Small Business Administration (SBA) loan deadline for businesses impacted by the fire is the same - December 11, 2017. APPLY even if you have insurance!

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