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Santa Rosa Snippets - February 2016 - Elaine Holtz


Santa Rosa Snippets - February 2016 - Elaine Holtz

To Remove or Not to Remove, That is the Question Santa Rosa’s plan to reunify Courthouse Square calls to remove 91 of the 128 trees in the plaza, which include 35 Redwood Heritage Trees creating conflict between downtown business owners who want to maximize parking around the square and residents who want to save as many trees as possible. Downtown Santa Rosa currently has 3,000 spaces at the Santa Rosa Plaza mall and 3,500 spaces in city garages which some believe is enough parking space. 

Rick Coates, Executive Director Forest Unlimited believes we need to do everything we can to sequester the carbon and not increase it by encouraging more cars travelling to the downtown area “It is important to note that these trees absorb carbon dioxide which is one of the main green house gases that is causing global warming.” The trees they want to cut down are according to Coates, “Growing fast, putting on a lot of wood and the older they get the more carbon they can absorb.” During the summer the trees help keep the air cool in the area by providing shade. A survey was taken of over 2,000 residents of Santa Rosa, ( The project is scheduled to begin construction in June 2016. For more information go to…/pub…/courthousesquare/Pages/default.aspx.

February is Black History Month, also known as African-American History Month in America, is an annual observance in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom for remembrance of important people and events in the history of the African Diaspora. It is celebrated annually in the United States and Canada in February, and the United Kingdom in October.

According to the Association for the Study of African American Life and History the 2016 National Black History Theme for 2016 is “Hallowed Grounds: Sites of African American Memories.”

The Past Comes Alive at Martin Luther King Birthday Celebration 

Over 300 people attended the 38th birthday celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the Santa Rosa High School auditorium. The theme was built on a statement by King: “Breaking down the walls of injustice that remain intact, is everyone’s responsibility.”

This year’s historic event included a slide show of the History of the Civil Rights Movement presented by key note speaker Donzaleigh Abernathy, daughter of Reverend Ralph Abernathy. What was daunting to me was the reminder that the struggle was about equality and the right to vote. In listening to her call Dr. King, Uncle Martin I recognized those involved in the struggle were human beings with families and values and yet they were hated enough to lynch and bomb.   

Two students from Maria Carrillo High School were the winners and presenters of the annual essay competition. Eden Luvishis, junior division, talked about racism as a fire out of control, which needs to be contained and stopped. Holman Pettibonek, senior division, talked about voting rights and some of the voter suppression issues that are prevalent today. There was a special performance by Patrice De Armen of the Sam Cooke song, “A Change is Gonna Come.” The arrangement pierced my heart and I asked myself, “When is the change gonna come, when will we stop hating and killing one another.” To hear an interview with Donzaleigh Abernathy go to

The Bees are Swarming in Santa Rosa -During the cold months the Honey Bees stay clustered in their hives to stay warm. Plants start blooming in February and March which tells the bees there is a source of food which signals the queen to produces even more eggs and the population increases to the highest level of the year as hives become crowded and swarming occurs. A swarm is a ball of bees that are cuddled into what appears to be a shape of a football and they can attach themselves to any kind of surface. At this time the bees are not aggressive, because they have gorged on honey before swarming. 

According to Melissa Bates – Swarm Chairman for the Sonoma County Bee Association ( approximately 25% of the wild swarms find an appropriate home therefore it becomes important that people be aware and make sure these bees are supported. If you spot a swarm, do not panic, contact the association who will send a bee keeper to collect the swarm and give it new home. This is one way we are protecting the Bees in Santa Rosa.



Elaine B. Holtz is producer/Host of “Women’s Spaces” on KBBF 89.1FM Monday 11-12 noon & 11-12 midnight. All shows on line at