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Grassroots Graton - November 2015 - Heather Granahan


Grassroots Graton -  November 2015 - Heather Granahan

by Heather Granahan

A Teaspoon, A Torrent

It rained about a teaspoon the week of this writing, and I mean distributed over the whole town. Yet torrents are promised, they say. Growing up in West County means that most winters of my life have involved an encounter or three with the regular flooded road at Green Valley Creek. It means a long detour and sometimes the scary entertainment of watching nitwits strand their cars and making the fire department haul them out. Please don’t join them – do not try and cross flooded roads. The fire department knows they are needed without your added assurance. With the promise of a big El Nino winter and serious damage from our one big rain last winter, folks are looking for a fix on that flood prone stretch of road. On October 14th a packed house gathered at the Gold Ridge RCD to hear what they hoped would be solutions. Alas, no long-range solutions were presented, only short term temporary measures that Sonoma County Public Works hopes will at least prevent damage to the road. These fixes certainly won't prevent water from closing the road when the creek rises.

As we’ve witnessed, water builds up considerable force as it rushes over the road edge. I’ve seen good sized stumps clipping right along there. To help preserve the road from this torrent, crews will come out over the next weeks to install concrete barriers on the upstream side of the road that will rise about one foot above the current asphalt, to keep the road intact as water hits the structure. Water will still flood over, but the barrier is intended to keep the road from falling apart, so that the road is passable again when floods subside. Clearly this is a temporary patch, with any true fixes many studies and millions of dollars away.

Matt O'Connor of O'Connor Environmental, Inc. is studying how we got here from there - the history of Green Valley Creek as far back as can be deciphered. The creek was 9 feet deep a few decades ago, yet has silted up to only 2 feet deep which leaves nowhere for the water to go but up and over the road. Dredging is no longer a viable practice as it destroys fish habitats. Meanwhile, help by cleaning your own drainage ditches of vegetation and debris, avoiding any major earth removal without permits. To learn more and stay in touch with the process of finding a solution, please visit the Gold Ridge RCD website: where history, updates and meeting Powerpoints are posted.

RVers Update 

This is going to press just in advance of a neighbor meeting being gathered to discuss the influx of RV ers in our town. Suggestions of including some of these rolling homesteaders in the meeting were considered but it was decided to let perma-housed folks air their thoughts first in order to gauge the mood. Most planning on attending have expressed a desire to be fair and inclusive, and to consider the housing crisis as well as those recently un-housed by the nearby Valley Fire. More to come…

3 Neighbors that wow me 

Neighbor Ellen Kaplan Cheek is a master artisan, fabricator, metalworker and fortunately for us this takes the form of some compelling and evocative jewelry. See her one-of-a kind work, Nov 27, 28 and 29 Noon-4 pm at Pie Eyed Gallery 2371 Gravenstein Hwy So. The gallery is the home turf of painter Laurie Luck, also known for her fabulous pies at openings.  

HolLynn DeLil’s book Becoming Real in 24 Days is a book I’d like to gift to a few friends this season, one who is wheel-powered and two with “invisible disabilities”. It is a record of a remarkable early takeover/protest event in the disability civil rights movement.  To celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, it is on a special deal for a few more weeks at: . 

Listen, ask, and change your prejudices. 

Gratonite Arnold Levine has been facilitating a series of free “OPEN BOOK” meetings, at the Sonoma County Main Library in downtown Santa Rosa. Speakers from often-stereotyped groups discuss their lives and answer questions to dissolve barriers. It’s modeled after the Human Library started in Denmark in 2000 as part of a youth organization called “Stop The Violence”. The idea is straightforward: library guests can choose which volunteer they’d like to “check out” (listen to) based on titles the human books choose, like “Olympic Athlete,” “Biking Agoraphobic,” “Fat Woman,” and in Sonoma County included transsexual, homeless, and schizophrenic “books”. The series concludes Sundays in December 2015, and March 2016. Meetings are recorded for later broadcast on KOWS 107.3fm ; see