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Sebastappeal - July 2015


Sebastappeal - July 2015

by Sarah Glade Gurney

'Something Wonderful' Happening? Yes…Maybe Even Beyond Wonderful!

Something wonderful could happen in Sebastopol, if you propose to your loved one and have your wedding ceremony in town. Your wedding bells could ring at City Hall!

Sebastopol’s City Clerk extraordinaire, Mary Gourley, has started the process to make Sebastopol the first City in the County to offer civil marriages. This new service will be available because California’s Family Law Code changed, effective January 1, 2015, to authorize City Clerks and Mayors to perform civil ceremonies. These newly designated officials will receive training from the Sonoma County Clerk’s Office.

Mary says, “We at City Hall are looking forward to hearing wedding bells soon and wishing new couples well.”

Before appointments can be made for this occasion, our Council needs to adopt an official policy and fee schedule. I’ll ask if the Clerk or Mayor could perform the marriage ceremony in different public venues. Imagine a lovely, outdoor wedding in Ives Park, at the Gazebo at Libby Park, or in the amphitheater at the Laguna.

Applicants will still be required to obtain marriage licenses from the County of Sonoma.

On another fun note, our City Clerk has arranged for live streaming of our City Council meetings - Sebastopol’s own “must-see” TV – up and running by mid-July. The video will remain available at Check the City’s Facebook page for updated information. 

Summer vacation is wonderful, especially in Sebastopol! Stop by our Visitors’ Bureau for ideas on how and where to entertain your company. Find another great resource at, made available by the volunteer efforts of Cittsalow Sebastopol.  

First chance you get during this drought-stricken summer – see the new movie about our watershed: The Russian River: All Rivers, The Value of an American Watershed, Boom-Bust and Binge, The Morning-After Water Story.” 

Mid-June, this winning film, a non-profit project produced, written, and directed by SoCo residents, played to a sell-out crowd at the Rialto.  Why go see it? Because, as the website states: 

Rivers are among Earth’s most enduring features. Even when threatened or in decline they, And the habitat they nourish, Can appear deceptively beautiful. The Russian River and its watershed have always provided. Those with access to this gift have always taken what they’ve wanted. The story of the Russian River is, in many ways, the story of all rivers.

The film explores the diverse forces that shaped one of California’s iconic rivers – forces that impact rivers and watersheds throughout the world. It examines how the Russian River has been used, and what the consequences of those uses have been. By looking at the effects of mining, logging, fishing, agriculture, diversion and development, the film conveys a historical perspective for the river’s condition. Scientists, educators, policy makers, activists and citizens offer their perspectives on how this resource has been used and managed.

Beyond examining its exploitation as a resource, the film revels in the watershed’s profound, often forgotten, beauty. It also looks to the future by offering solutions and implores viewers to offer their own. How do we live in balance with this life-sustaining resource?

Check the Facebook page for next showing. Be prepared: the movie runs for more than two hours. 

NOT YET…or Maybe NO?

Status regarding the downtown CVS store, second building, and over-sized parking lot remains the same as last month: still awaiting permits to be pulled and clean-up of this blighted site. City Manager/Attorney Larry McLaughlin has asked CVS again to clean up the multiple properties and he’s received no response

If the City had the power to clean up the site, it would have happened yesterday

What kind of neighbor is this business? Do you want to spend your money there? These are questions relevant to the proposed boycott of CVS. There was some action, over the last holiday season. Since then, a website and Facebook page have been created with donated money, some of which may remain for print material or yard signs when the time comes. 

When will something wonderful happen? For months, we’ve been waiting for Palm Drive Hospital to re-open – that “something wonderful” advertised on the red and white yard signs. First we were told late April, then late May, and now there is no date certain. When will our local hospital reopen?