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LETTERS from Sonoma County Gazette Readers - JANUARY 2015


LETTERS from Sonoma County Gazette Readers - JANUARY 2015

Fluoride vs. Fish Responses

Stephen’s argument is sound. Fluoride is indeed toxic to aquatic organisms, especially in freshwater, where the chemistry is entirely different to that in seawater. But the problems raised by enhanced fluoride concentrations - even at apparently insignificant levels - are far more profound that many scientists are aware of.

Water derived from natural surface water supplies and purified at municipal treatment works (‘drinking water’) is almost universally treated initially with aluminium sulphate. This results in residual traces of aluminium in a form that is rapidly complexed with any fluoride present to form aluminofluoride. This complex is extremely persistent in freshwater, and enhances the bioavailability of aluminium in both invertebrates and fish.

Half of all water fleas, for example, a prime food for very small fish fry, are quickly killed by aluminium concentrations of only 5 micrograms per litre. So suppose you discharge waste water containing the permitted level of residual aluminium of 100 micrograms per litre into a river, and that water also contains some added fluoride - what may happen then? Well, even if you dilute that waste water discharge with twenty times its volume of uncontaminated river water, it will still kill half of all the tiny creatures like water fleas on which the fish fry depend.

Whilst the direct toxicity of the fluoride component of this component may be relatively insignificant, it makes the presence of any aluminium from non-natural sources even more accessible to aquatic organisms. So the indirect effects of boosting the fluoride concentration, through water fluoridation, may be far more significant in the rivers and lakes than conventional toxicity studies on fluoride itself suggest.

It has long been known that aluminium is highly damaging to freshwater ecosystems - this is one of the primary problems with ‘acid rain’; it’s not the acidity that damages the rivers and lakes but the resultant increase in the bioavailability of aluminium. Natural forms of both aluminium and fluoride are actually relatively unreactive in biological systems, but it’s those new forms that we release to the environment, often without full knowledge of their potential biological activity, that are now causing the problems.

The consultants that wrote the report clearly were unfamiliar with this field, but it only takes a short search in the published literature - plus a little direct familiarity with the field and knowing what to look for - to find evidence that entirely supports the call to stop fluoridation of water that will, eventually, get into the natural freshwater ecosystems on which so many species are utterly dependent.

(References related to this note:- Muller HG. (1982) Interference of insoluble particles with the reproduction toxicity test using Daphnia magna. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 29: 127-129 (Cited in Struneka A, Strunecky O and Patocka J (2001) Fluoride Plus Aluminum: Useful Tools in Laboratory Investigations, but Messengers of False Information. Physiol. Res. 51: 557-564, 2002)

Doug Cross CSci, CBiol, FSB
Forensic Environmental Consultant
Croft End, Lowick Bridge, Cumbria UK, LA12 8EE


I’m perplexed by the position taken by several members of the Board of Supervisors in favor of drinking-water fluoridation. Science seems to support dental health, but it also acknowledges damage to the aquatic environment.

The Supervisor also serve as the directors of the Sonoma County Water Agency, an agency that has in recent years spent millions of dollars on efforts to prevent the extinction of Salmon and steelhead in the Russian River basing. Why then would they be considering adding another toxin to the habitat they seek to protect?

Fluoride is not removed by sewage treatment, accumulates in the environment and is known to have deleterious effects on salmonids. Other pharmaceuticals in the watershed, introduced through sewage system, already pose a poorly understood threat to fish and wildlife.

If the county is serious about restoring our salmon and steelhead, the supervisors should adopt a precautionary approach and not add another toxin to the mix. The $587,000 per year estimate of the costs of fluoridation is coted as the primary barrier to supervisors support. Supervisors should also consider the additional coats of undoing some of the positive fisheries conservation work undertaken by the county to date.

Dick Butler, Cloverdale

Protected resources Division, Supervisor (retired) NOAA/NMFS

January 1995 – June 2014 (19 years, 6 months) Santa Rosa, CA

Managed a staff of 25 in administration of the Endangered Species Act and conservation of California fisheries resources


Editor, Sonoma County Gazette

re:  November 26, 2014, Fluoride vs. Fish: Sonoma County Health Dept’s EIR Report

Concerns about community water fluoridation and fish are mistaken and misplaced.

Unless the city wastewater is a very large percentage of the stream flow, it is mathematically impossible for the waste effluent to significantly change the fluoride concentration of a natural aquatic environment.

A properly operated wastey6water treatment plant removes a significant portion of the fluoride with the solids. At 1ppm (higher than the current 0.7 ppm optimal target) waste water discharge from fluoridated communities contains about .6 ppm fluoride.

Damkaer and Dey, the paper cited in the Nov 26 letter, showed that salmonid migration is unaffected by .2 ppm fluoride. Readers should be made aware of the huge fluoride contamination from the adjacent aluminum plant that was required to change the Columbia River fluoride concentration from the normal background of 0.1 ppm to .2 ppm. This was many orders of magnitude greater than the immeasurably small fluoride burden community water systems place on the Columbia. Damkaer and Dey were reporting on a truly enormous industrial pollution event.

Simple math shows that if the stream flow is only twice that of the volume of waste water effluent, assuming a background fluoride of .1 he resulting water will be below what Damkaer and Dey found safe.

Expert and academic analyses of fluoride and the natural environment and formal EPA approvals of wastewater discharge have found no evidence of harm. See:

Water Fluoridation and the Environment:  Current Perspective in the United States Int J Occup Environ Health 2004;10:343-350.  HF Pollick

The Puyallup Tribe Certified the application for discharge of fluoridated wastewater into the Puyallup River. Surely no people are move reverentially protective of Salmon.$FILE/WA0039578%20FS.PDF

Am J Public Health. 1990 Oct;80(10):1230-5. Evaluating the impact of municipal water fluoridation on the aquatic environment.  Osterman JW.

2005 Letter by Limnologist Joe Carroll re Hood River, OR fluoride wastewater

Criticism of Damkaer and Dey - North American Journal of Fisheries Management 9:154-162, 1989.  Evidence for Fluoride Effects on Salmon Passage at John Day Dam, Columbia River, 1982-1986

The Irish Expert Body on Fluorides and Health, Chairman: Dr Seamus O´Hickey, May 2012


Blog comment by EPA staff to citizen concern re fluoride discharges.

“Fluoride at high levels can be toxic to fish and wildlife. It also occurs naturally in groundwater and surface water. Some streams have naturally high levels of fluoride in the water, and the toxicity also depends on the species of the fish, temperature, and the water chemistry. EPA does include fluoride levels in discharge permits when appropriate and has standards for fluoride to protect human health and the environment.”

Attached to this email are opinions regarding the Damkaer and Dey study’s lack of relevance to community water fluoridation from recognized environmental experts, which were solicited during fluoridation debates in Oregon State.  

Since this matter was first brought forward by those opposing community water fluoridation in the early 2000’s there have been no peer reviewed science showing fluoridation causing harm to any aquatic environmental system.   This is not surprising given the realities of wastewater effluent dilution.

There are some 150 reasons opponents use to prevent the adoption of what Surgeon General C. Everett Koop called “the single most important commitment a community can make to its children and to future generations.”

Over 100 prestigious scientific and professional organizations recognized the importance of fluoridation to better dental health - see;

Organizations Endorsing Fluoridation - In their own words

Fluoridation simply prevents cavities. Disinformation about an imagined harm to fish and salmon actually harms entire communities when it successfully recruits opposition.


Charles C. Haynie, M.D., FACS
Hood River, OR


I noticed a few weak spots in Stephen Fuller-Rowell’s generally well-written and well-informed article on fluoride and fish migration in the December 2014 issue.

The County only controls fluoridation outside towns.  Healdsburg, where I live, recently voted roughly 2-to-1 to continue fluoridating its municipal water; several other towns in the County have chosen not to fluoridate.  The article does not say how much of the runoff into the Russian River comes from areas that are actually under County jurisdiction.

I don’t think funding for objective fluoride research is especially “hard to come by.” I looked at half a dozen studies suggested by fluoridation opponents during the recent Healdsburg election, and there were dozens more I could have read. But many were shoddy science, and the actual conclusions of the rest—every single one of the more solid studies I read—were misrepresented by the anti-fluoridation forces. The problem isn’t a shortage of funding for good objective studies: it’s a shortage of good objective studies that actually support fluoridation opponents’ positions.

I read the Damkaer and Dey study cited in the article, and while it is solid and presented accurately, both it and another paper by the same authors state that there are large quantities of other pollutants present in the water that they studied. I wouldn’t assume that conclusions should be drawn from this study about the impact of fluoride on fish migration in water that is not otherwise heavily polluted by nearby industrial runoff.

L Peter Deutsch


As a pediatrician who has dedicated my life’s work to advocating for vulnerable, underserved children, this article makes me very sad. It was because of all of the Latino children in my practice that developed numerous cavities before they even turned 3, that I became an advocate for oral health and for community water fluoridation. 

In that role, I have reviewed an enormous amount of published research related to fluoride, dating back to the 1920’s, and through 2014. Having done so, I feel sad and disappointed that the NAACP has been swayed by the misinformation about fluoride that is, unfortunately, so widely disseminated on the internet. This action is doing such a disservice to all children, but particularly those children of color who have traditional been underserved and had difficulty accessing professional dental decay. Community water fluoridation is highly effective in preventing and available to everyone, regardless of your income or your skin color.

We face persistent and enormous disparities in the dental health status of US children and adults in the United States; community water fluoridation is an important public health prevention strategy to narrow the gap in the oral health status between “the haves” and “the have-nots” in the United States. There will always be people who prefer not to drink water with fluoride in it and they can opt out if they want, but to deny community water fluoridation to the millions and millions of children who really need it so that they can develop strong teeth that are more resistant to dental decay—that is perpetuating an injustice. 

To have your attention focused on fluorosis, which is usually so mild as to not even be noticeable, is wrong. Not only because it is UNTRUE that children of color have more fluorosis, but because this distracts from the real problem of children suffering advanced dental decay and toothaches and young adults having so few teeth that they need dentures. Mild to moderate fluorosis has been around forever because some water supplies naturally contain even higher levels of fluoride than in community water fluoridation. And teeth with this degree of fluorosis, which is actually quite unusual in the US, are stronger and more resistant to cavities. 

Understanding the facts about community water fluoridation is critically important. Community water fluoridation was developed to replicate a naturally occurring phenomenon that came to light in the 1920’s. In those days children who grew up in communities with a water supply that was naturally fluoridated had many fewer cavities. This was a big deal back then because dental decay and toothaches and early tooth loss were commonplace. And those who suffered the most from dental disease were Black Americans. Read “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” for a heart breaking account of what it was like to be a young Black child in the South with a toothache. 

Community water fluoridation is why our dental health as a population has improved so dramatically over the last 70 years. To continue to address dental health disparities, we need more communities with community water fluoridation not fewer. We also need to improve access to dental care and improve our diets but not at the expense of the foundation of healthy teeth, which is community water fluoridation.

Fluoride is naturally present in all bodies of water, in the earth’s crust, and in all living things. Fluoride is a natural part of all of our diets. When you drink a cup or a glass of tea, you are probably drinking more fluoride than is present in 8 or more glasses of water in a community with water fluoridation because tea naturally contains fluoride.

Some water supplies already contain enough fluoride naturally to be effective in preventing cavities. In other communities, a miniscule amount more of fluoride is added to bring it up to the effective level. We are talking about 1 tablespoon of fluoride in 1300 gallons of water. This is not medication. This is prevention. Just like taking a small amount of iron prevents anemia, taking a small amount of fluoride prevents dental decay. 

There is a huge body of evidence supporting the safe and beneficial effects of community water fluoridation. Community water fluoridation does not cause bone problems or cancer or kidney problems or problems with IQ. This has been studied extensively. It prevents dental decay—plain and simple. Folks who try to convince you that there are high quality research studies that say fluoride is unsafe are misinformed and do not know the totality of the evidence. They like to pick a few poor quality studies that make their point and ignore the rest of the research. That’s not OK.

Charlotte Lewis

In Sonoma County we have a wonderful in-school dental program that not only teaches children how to care for their teeth - examines their teeth, etc. but while the kids are passing through the exam process - heath teachers are showing the rest of the class how to avoid sugary drinks, floss and brush their teeth. This is an underfunded program yet teaches children a lifelong practice of caring for their teeth and bodies through avoiding sugary beverages, etc.  

Personally, I’d rather see the millions of dollars that would go toward fluoridating our water supply put into educating our children Whether scientists, government, people, etc. say fluoride is good or bad for people or the environment - I still think it needs to be a PERSONAL CHOICE we make to ingest it or not ingest it. I’m not comfortable with someone else making choices about my life and my body for me.. ~ Vesta


Is there an impact from the combination of fluoride and other pollutants?

Tom Tito


 Sustainable SOLUTIONS?

Dear Editor,

I can’t make much sense out of Sam Euston’s article titled, “Sustainable Solutions.” First, sustainability of a resource depends upon how much we have to begin with, and that is terribly difficult to know. Then it depends upon changing technology, about which we know just as little. And, finally, it depends upon prices. In a free market prices work to ensure a sustainable supply of any privately owned resource.

Euston also finds “waste” to be a problem, which is a strange concept for a free-market society. Whatever is considered to be waste is simply a privately owned resource waiting for exploitation.  In the early days of oil production as much as half of an original barrel of oil would be wasted in the production of lubricating oils and kerosene as no one knew what to do with the production by-products. Thus, John D. Rockefeller saw an opportunity to exploit and invested in the research to find uses for the waste material being thrown away by other oil producers.  He succeeded.

Similarly, Euston’s concern over the “commodification” of resources is similarly misguided. Because water in California is controlled and largely supplied by government, it is supplied at below cost prices to farmers who grow water-intensive crops in arid areas of California. As a private controlled commodity water would be used wisely, and be available to all (just like bottled water).

Euston is also concerned about appropriate feedback systems. Yet, a free economy has the best feedback system possible – prices.  Prices are impersonal. Compare that to such attempts as the “Genuine Progress Indicator,” the “Happiness Index,” or the “Global Impact Disclosure Report,” (GIDR).  These feedback systems are the product of fallible human choices, humans with their own prejudices and priorities. Any one of them might fit your particular desires, but it is grossly presumptive to think they might be suitable for a community, nation, or world.

Remember, a government with the power to impose the GIDR can impose anything, even a remake of totalitarian fascism. A better idea is to nurture freedom and property rights, and kick the “Principles of A True Cost Economy” back into history’s trash heap. 

Sincerely, James R. Oglesby

Dear Mr. Oglesby,

I really appreciate that you took a few minutes to share your thoughts and opinions regarding the December 2014 True Cost Economics Column. I would suggest that you refer back to my August column where I address the definition of sustainability. I subscribe to the Brundtland Commission’s definition: “sustainable development meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” 

My column’s focus is on researching and disseminating sustainable solutions.  

If as you state that “it’s difficult to know the sustainability of a resource”, your statement supports the importance of the definition that I subscribe to.  

In my view, we are stewards of this planet, not just resource extractors, who hope eventually that the dollars they pursue, will bring the world and the environment into balance. It appears to me that your focus is on economics and my focus is on sustainable solutions and “true cost” economics; that appears to be the difference in our two positions.  

What’s interesting is that I just heard Naomi Oreskes (Historian of Science at Harvard) speak, and her “climate change” research findings corroborate the economics “focus” that’s contained in your letter.


“The battle (regarding Climate Change), isn’t about science, but economics. 

From reading their papers, you could see that physicists were very strong believers in the unfettered free market. They believed that without free markets, you couldn’t have democracy.

[Which I think is the fundamental point in your letter.]

When we began, we wondered about the common thread linking smoking, acid rain and global warming — what was it? Well, each was a serious problem that the unregulated free market didn’t respond to.

How does the free market prevent acid rain or climate change? It doesn’t. 

How do we know about the potential harm to individuals or the environment? Because of science. 

And how does one prevent harm? With regulation. 

To prevent regulation, we’ve had this campaign of doubt-mongering about science and scientists.”

I think, Mr. Oglesby (you were at one time the chair of the Sonoma County Libertarian Party), it makes $ents that you could also be a “product of fallible human choice with your own prejudice and priorities” and subscribe to “free market regulation”. So of course; attack, discredit and trash, is the standard approach that is taken as Professor Oreske’s research has found to be the case.   

Nurturing freedom and the respect of property (to me) is demonstrating responsible stewardship and implementing sustainable solutions. Being accountable for the effects we create by our actions, our production, now and for future generations is the nurturance of “freedom”, and helps to sustain the property (such as our earth) for others beyond this generation.     

I appreciate that we can have a dialogue, and bring these distinctive views to the forefront.

Sam Euston



Plastic in our Ocean

I would like to answer Mr. Albaum’s critique of our article in your November issue.

Firstly, as stated in the article, we should see a 10% drop in the overall amount of plastic ejected into the ocean by Sonoma County waterways. This is what San Jose experienced. They had established a baseline prior so can compare.

What type of litter reduction should we experience from banning single use bags? Single use bags of course!

The bird shown in the article is a Lysayan Albatross chick. These birds feed on the wing, doing anywhere from 10 mph to 40 mph, and are looking anywhere for 10 to 30 yards out in front of them. They feed on surface animals, mostly gelatinous. So what looks like food is food. 

Each year these birds import approximately 52,000 TONS of plastic on to the Lysayan Island and feed it to their offspring. Whether these birds live or die depends upon how much organic matter vs. plastic they are fed. 

Each year thousands of chicks don’t make it. What is found in the carcasses left behind are squid beaks, styrofoam and plastic. Everything else has been digested.

Virtually all of the blue items we have observed mimic Velella Velella. 


Plastic is Drastic. 

Styrene is Obscene.

Please do your part and help keep it clean.

Keary and Sally Sorenson



Wood Smoke Pollution

Your claims that burning wood for domestic heating is environmentally friendly is debatable and your dismissal of the health impact of residential wood smoke pollution is regrettable 

Recent studies suggest the carbon particles produced from the incomplete burning of wood contributes to the greenhouse effect. And, anyone living next door to a house with a wood burning heater will tell you they are not people friendly. 

Health professionals will advise you residential wood smoke pollution contains many of the same cancer causing chemicals found in cigarette smoke. They will also tell you exposure to residential wood smoke pollution can lead to the hospitalization of those with pre-existing heart or lung conditions. Those most at risk are the elderly and the very young whose lungs are still developing. This includes those who burn wood for heating. 

In my city the burning of wood for domestic heating accounts for almost 70 percent of our fine particle air pollution. Cars account for about 10 percent. Our local government regularly warns residents wood smoke pollution can be a health risk and actively encourages them to make their homes more energy efficient with financial incentives to transfer to cleaner forms of heating. It has even gone so far as to ban wood heaters in some new residential developments.  

New Zealand has taken a stronger stand and banned wood heaters in some cities. It has also implemented tough emission standards. These actions are based on the mountains of evidence that exposure to residential wood smoke can have a serious impact on your health.

Darryl Johnston


Wood is a SUSTAINABLE fuel because it comes from trees, which GROW and because firewood is obtained through tree trimming. Locally, forests are destroyed to obtain firewood. 

The combination of it being a sustainable - renewable resource sets it apart from fossil fuels, which are not renewable or sustainable. Trees also clean our air and provide oxygen so they fulfill a beneficial purpose as well. 

I did not DISMISS the health impacts. I illustrated the PROPER way to burn wood and encouraged people to purchase EPA Certified wood stoves that burn clean. Correctly burned wood in an EPA stove burns clean. You will not see smoke coming from the chimney.

Our cities also ban wood smoke on clean air days - but most city dwellers do not burn for heat - they have options. Many of us living in the forests burn wood for heat. If we burn it correctly - hot fires with dry wood - our fires burn clean. 

Beleive me, I understand that people burn wood improperly. Too many of my neighbors clearly don’t know how to burn wood for heat. Some even burn trash in their wood stoves - another serious polluter. What I am trying to do is EDUCATE people how to correctly use this renewable resource.~ Vesta


QUESTION for Matt Banchero re: Living with Redwoods


I don’t want to cut off my Redwood in my back yard, but PG&E is pushing me to do so because of their power lines. They even offered to do it for me at no cost, however, I don’t believe it is a danger to my or my neighbors’ houses. 

They have been cutting only one side the branches that are over the lines, but now they are saying that this method creates a tree that will constantly give them problems. They have to keep coming back to prune it. But I think that if that’s what they have to do, so be it. I don’t want to agree to its removal. 

However, I have to wonder if they have made it unbalanced by cutting only one side. Will you please recommend what should I do?

Elisa Cyrus


Hello Elisa,

It is almost impossible to give a good recommendation for a tree sight unseen, so I can only speak in generalities.  

a.  It sounds like you have some concerns about the safety of your redwood tree because the branches have been cut off on one side.  This is a situation where you would want to speak to a “consulting arborist”.  Consulting arborist’s are highly educated and go through far more rigorous testing than a “certified arborist”.  Consulting arborists will always be working for the benefit of the tree and their client, while certified arborists may also be climbers themselves, work for another tree service or PG&E and might have other motivations than just the health and safety of the tree.  

b.  You said that you were approached by PG&E.  This could mean it was a PG&E employee, one of their tree cutting contractors like Davey Tree or one of their third party arborist’s from Western ECI (Environmental Consulting Incorporated).  Know who you are talking to.  

c.  Cutting the tree down could mean topping the tree below the wires or removing the tree to grade.  In both situations the cut top or the stump will continue to sprout new tops and continue to be a maintenance issue unless the tree is cut to grade and the stump is ground out.  

d.  They offered to cut the tree down for free.  Often, but not always, PG&E will pay for the tree to be taken down and the brush chipped but, they leave the wood on the ground, leave a 15’-20’ tall stump or they cut the tree to grade but do not grind the stump out.  I would ask for the specifications on the proposed job to be written down clearly, so you can make an educated decision.  

e.  PG&E has a corridor around their wires (depending on the voltage) from 10’-35’ and the air space above the wires that must be kept free of vegetation or they face stiff fines from state regulators for power outages or fires that result from not cutting.  Many properties have utility easements written into the deed.  You should know if they have an easement, if you decide to fight against your tree being cut down.  You should also keep in mind that electricity is wonderful thing to have in a winter windstorm.  I personally have spent many nights freezing in Camp Meeker because trees or branches have fallen across the lines.  

PG&E has a difficult job maintaining the electric right of way and the men and women who do it, work hard in terrible weather conditions, in a very high risk profession.    I do not mean to discount their efforts.  If they want to remove the tree entirely (read...spend lots of money) there may be a good reason.  Then again, this could be a perfectly healthy tree and the decision is being made by some guy in a cubicle with a spreadsheet.  Keeping in mind that I have not seen the tree and it’s surrounding “targets” I can not give you a black and white answer to your question.  I can only encourage you to do your research, get the opinion of a consulting arborist, get the proposal in writing so you can make an educated decision.  

Matt Banchero



Shadow the Dog


Animal lovers were shocked and dismayed over the light punishment recently given Ramiro Ramirez, who confessed to slashing the throat of his dog, Shadow, leaving him bound in a creek. Passers-by heard Shadow’s cries and took him to a vet. He later died.   


The court’s reasons for not jailing Ramirez for 200 days for felony animal cruelty as requested by the District Attorney apparently boiled down to these: Ramirez said he was sorry, had no previous criminal record and his family wrote letters saying he was a nice man.  

The DA strenuously argued that Ramirez lied to investigators, denying Shadow was his dog then claiming Shadow was terminally ill and, because he couldn’t afford to have him humanely euthanized, he slashed his throat.  

Euthanasia for terminally suffering animals costs as little as $50. The financially strapped might be asked to pay less, or nothing.  Ramirez and his wife both have jobs, two cars and money to hire a private attorney. But not $50 for Shadow?

The judge let this man off with probation, work release or home confinement, and a little community service. The lesson of this case is clear: We are spaying and neutering the wrong species.

bob edwards

Wheelstops Strike Again

I tripped over a wheel stop I swear had never been there before. I was walking my dog on Halloween 2013 through a school parking lot - a series of them are in the MIDDLE of the parking lot - these were NOT painted.

My left foot caught the stop and I fell completely flat on the left side of my body - no time to even break my fall - hit my head on the asphalt and had two deep cuts on the backside of my hand and on my knee. 

I came to and walked to the principles office to report the incident - she happens to be there and the school custodian witnessed me as well.

I told her what happened and that I didn’t see the stop and asked her why none were painted- she said she’d look into it and offered me a ride home.

I’m so angry a year later after steroid shots that require epidurals and whole days off from work. I don’t know what to do:

There’s my story. I’m not the litigious type.

Geoffrey Brunet

Geoffry and I exchanged many letters and contacts so he could find some sense that there is something he can do to feel less helpless ~ Vesta

Forestville School Thanks the Community

The Forestville Education Foundation (FEF) would like to take this opportunity to thank the following businesses for participating in the annual Holiday Window Painting fundraiser, which not only made our downtown bright and festive, but also raised over $1200 for art, classroom supplies, enrichment programs, and field trips for Forestville School students:  Karol H. Scheiner, DDS (FEF Event Sponsor), Paul Hobbs Winery (FEF Event Sponsor), Carr’s Drive-In, Forestville Pizzeria, Mark J. Sever MSPT, Empire Drug Company, Bauer Associates, Fred’s Liquor, Ideal Hardware, Nightingale Breads, Rotten Robbies, Sequoia Properties, and Sunshine Roasters.   The Foundation would also like to thank the volunteers who painted the windows (over 20 families), as well as Deborah Padrick, K-3 artist in residence at Forestville School, who initiated this tradition and kept it going for over 25 years.

Eleanor Gorman

THANK YOU for your support of our Community Event!!!

Light Pollution

Hi Vesta,

Am I the only one who notices that there is a lot more light pollution going on at night (actually, mainly in the evenings) these last few years? Here in Forestville, it almost looks like we have become the latest Santa Rosa suburb with people lighting up their houses or yards with Xmas lighting, being great at displaying that we even exist. Who would have thought of such display even twenty years ago?

Truly, I think it is great that if you live in a city and you square off with your neighbors about who can put on the best show of seasonal disorder that you try (and win) the light show. But here in the country, we do not only compete with human neighbors. We have a lot of neighboring folks that were here before we moved in. Do they like the Xmas lighting? Or the chopping down of what is or used to be their real estate?

We have one of the best climates in the world and almost anything will grow here. But while we can explore and exploit it, let’s not push out fully what was here before we came around. Trees should not be seen as just pretty; they provide food for some of us (non-humans). If there were indeed a global economy, then squirrels and deer would put their dollars towards their favorite greens and foods, some now cut down for home- or wine making. Many of our neighbors are chopping trees down for money, but much worse, Some cut trees down just for fun. Imagine yourself living in competition with humans while not being able to voice the needs of your family. 

Basically, the question comes down to this: If we want to be city folks and light up our entire house for Xmas, should we be living in the country? Our behavior is attractive for some but it is also pushing out neighbors. 

We can cut trees down in our backyard, no questions asked. But we can just as easily cut down on our light exposure for our actual neighbors’ sake. What makes you happier as a Sonoman? Should we be happy about our beautiful county (the best in the state), and live in (semi) harmony with our natural neighbors? Or should we become Santa Rosa suburbanites, even here in Forestville? Cutting a tree is easy, and if it is just one tree that bothers you then you shouldn’t worry about it. But don’t forget our name: Forestville. If you have a little bit of forest in your backyard, please honor all of us that live here.

Thank you, Vesta. I hope this resonates with you (and your neighbors).

Fredrik Schermer, Forestville