The Sonoma County Gazette: Community News Magazine
Sonoma County Gazette
| more

Photo Gallery

Sebastappeal - February 2013


February 2013

by Sarah Glade Gurney

Our Community Identity

Some folks would suggest that it’s held in our identity, as we are known to ourselves and to others as Sebastopolians, Sebastopudlians, or Seb-Towners.  

We’ll have a report about our “Community Identity,” arising from a meeting held on January 31, 2013, and posted soon after that date on the City’s website.  This is one in a rigorous schedule of meetings held in January and February to conduct qualitative research to learn about the concerns and priorities of our residents.  

The fast-paced brainstorming sessions will collect as many ideas as possible and organize them through democratic process.  The information will be forwarded to the SSU students who are assisting in work being called the “Prelude to Our General Plan Update.”  The students will select major issues from across all meetings as the focus of their half-day community workshop on February 23, 2013.  Read the meeting announcements and follow-up summaries on the City’s website.  Get involved and put your heart in it.  

Our Public Library  

Another notion is that our Public Library is the heart of our community.  This building is considered to be the most visited [public] building in town.  Our Library exceeds many others in its service and service area, as evidenced not just by its statistics, but also by the myriad patrons and supporters who responded to the loss of Monday service and continue to advocate for our Library’s vitality.  

The recently renovated interior will hopefully get an exterior face-lift, thanks to the efforts of a community-based Landscape Committee.  This group will present its new landscape plans to the City Council on February 5, 2013.  The design, a thematic plan that also includes the City Hall property, was prepared through the generous efforts of Permaculture Artisans and Master Gardeners of Sonoma County.  If the project is approved, the group will seek donations of cash and plant material, negotiate with a professional manager for the clearing and replanting process, and consider a long-term plan for maintenance so that this site remains a showcase, at little or no expense to the City.  Answer the call for contributions of time and money and put your heart in it.  


The Plaza and Our Geographic Center

The campaign to create this hub for our community was called, years ago, “Be Part of The Heart” and it’s succeeded, in great major, due to the tenancy of our outdoor Farm Market.  Visit Sundays, from mid-morning to mid-day, to purchase local produce, meat, craft and gift items, and to enjoy good food and live entertainment – not to mention the friendly company of our shoppers.  Go on down to sample the food, wares, and people and put your heart in it. 

While The Plaza is the hub, the actual geographic center of town is somewhere near Parkside School and The Fire Station, according to maps prepared for the book, Sebastopol Walks.  Take a walk from this central location to learn how much is available on foot and put your heart in it.  


Community Awards by our Chamber of Commerce

If you’ve never been to this event, you’ll want to attend on Thursday, February 7, 2013, at the Center for the Arts at the Veterans’ Auditorium.  The reception, sponsored by many local restaurants and wineries, goes from 6 PM to 7 PM and features a silent auction and entertainment.

The Awards Ceremony, beginning at 7 PM, includes a very personal introduction of each recipient detailing his/her contributions to our community.  A very moving evening, the audience learns how these outstanding people have dedicated their hearts to service.  Come meet our Citizen of the Year, Police and Fire Employee, Best New Business, Volunteer and Youth Volunteer, Environmentalist, Humanitarian, and others.  Thank them and put your heart in it.  


Our Diversity and Tolerance

During my eight years in office, I’ve learned that our love for our community unites us, no matter how diverse our lifestyles, opinions, and values may be.  Whatever the conversation, I often hear expressed the heart-felt remark, “I really love this town!”  


My Invitation to Gazette Readers

I welcome your suggestions for my column.  Phone me at 823.6500 or contact me at and put SoCo Gazette in the subject line.