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Sonoma County Gazette
Feeling Graton by Jennifer Butler

Greetings Graton and Happy Valentines!

Feb 5, 2018


 I have walked the neighborhood, asking my locals, neighbors and visitors “What do you love about Graton?” And “Who do you wish a special valentine heart to?”

Here are SOME of the answers.

Kim Horton “I love the neighbors and how Graton is still funky and not pretentious” ­—To my handsome Ned, my best friend and most special person in my life.

Sam Ballenger “I love that everyone knows each other”.—My heart to Viv.

Anika Topham “I love that Graton is well known for its restaurants”.­—My heart to my big sister Ivy.

Eric Ballenger “I love that Graton is chock full of crazy and that everyone knows each other but pretends that they don’t.” ­—My heart to Sadie

Natalia Chamaki ”I love that the downtown is one block long but has three great restaurants”. ­—In loving memory of Shane Silva and to Lipi.

Nancy Kesserling “I love the smallness and friendliness. I love that it is rural but close to everything that I need.” ­­—My heart to Burt Fanning

Ted Sassy “I love our community” To the Oakgrove Kindergarten… “I look forward to your visit to the post office!”

Patricia Diaz “I love the people I work for. I have worked at Underwood 14 years” ­—My heart to Juan Carlos

Jessica James “I love that my kids are being raised where my husband grew up. Doing all the fun things that he used to do”. ­—My heart to Jeramiah

Jackie Formanek “I love the neighborhood” ­—My heart to Lisa C

Monica from Penngrove “I love the Underwood” ­—My heart to my husband

Chris Topham “I love that you can walk everywhere and it’s all beautiful. I love that I can also walk to get the things I need like restaurants, candy and coffee”.—My heart to Heather

Shannon Magee from SF  “I love all the nature. I love coming here with my out of state guest and showing them all the wonderful places to walk”—My heart to Paul

Dan Whitehall from Washington “I love wine tasting and the antique shops”—My heart to Rick

Diana from Forestville “I love all the families that make up the little town”—My heart to It’s a secret

Vesta Copestakes “The comfort food of the Willowood and the people in it! The Graton Day Labor Hall for the excellent service they provide to both those needing services and those providing services”—My heart to … I forgot to ask her but I am going to guess it’s her grandchildren.

Graton, meet David and Susan Upchurch

 I had to write about David and Susan because they were married on Valentine’s Day! I have known David for years but I never knew that he played semi-pro basketball for 7 years in Germany! Nor did I know that he was born in Germany, did Russell Racing in Snetterton England and Formula racing Zolder Belgium.

I did know that he loves all animals, which he jokes “all taste like chicken”, and can fix almost anything! David has a real passion in airplanes, cars and sail boats. David moved to Graton in 2005 for love. He has 4 children and eight grandchildren! His favorite thing about Graton is that its very nature is a laid back culture, hospitable and welcoming. He likes that people live and let live. When pressed he couldn’t think of anything he didn’t like. What David would like to see for Graton is “another 100 years of Graton being Graton” Thank you David for serving on the GCSD board!

Susan is the District Director for Supervisor Lynda Hopkins and she wants Graton to “keep on keeping on because I like Graton the way it is”. She moved her in 1984 and was a local business owner in Graton for 24 years. She thinks at one time she may have employed the whole neighborhood.

Susan loved that on the very block she lives 6 children including her very own DJ where born around the same time and all grew up together.

To her the most positive changes in Graton have been the downtown renovation and the Graton Labor Hall. Although she did say that she misses not having school-aged children and now that she works in Santa Rosa leaves her less time to engage in the community. Susan would like to see affordable housing for families as her favorite thing about Graton is her neighbors and she wants everyone to be able to have the same.


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