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Sonoma County Gazette
Feeling Graton by Jennifer Butler

County Supervisors Vote
to Protect the Joe Rodota Trail 


Dec 27, 2018
by Jennifer Butler


Happy new year dear Graton, the holidays are over, and the shortest day of the year has passed. Perhaps, I'm too optimistic but next comes spring and I am already excited for it.   I realize, I have a few more months to go of cold and rain. I’ll use that time to get some extra sleep and read a few good books. Right now, I have both Trever Noah and Michelle Obama’s memoirs on the night stand. Although, I am a lover of warm weather, I do have to admit of the incredible beauty on gray misty mornings when the fog rolls in and out like the breath of a yawning giant, swirling around the mountains.  Oh, gorgeous Sonoma County! The colors, the trees and the stillness.  So sweet.  I feel so lucky to live here.  

I thought you might enjoy one of my favorite quotes. My dad told me this one, but it was said by Dennis Wholey “Expecting the world to treat you fairly because you're a good person is like expecting a bull not to attack you because you're a vegetarian.”


The County Supervisors voted to protect the Joe Rodota trail by making its classification the same as all other trails in Sonoma County determining that they are not just transportation corridors. They agreed that it is a “linear park” thereby qualifying for the 1000ft setbacks for cannabis cultivation. It is my understanding thatJackalope farms will be submitting an amended application for use of that property, but we don’t know what it is yet.  This is a win for Graton for now, but much is still needed to be done to determine how to properly allow for cultivation that doesn’t impede on the quality of life in neighborhoods. While the Joe Rodota trail is currently under reprieve our neighbors on the corner of Ross and Green Valley road are also struggling to deal with a cannabis operation. Over 40 neighbors wrote that they have been negatively impacted by it but the fight for them continues. Please stay informed and involved. We get a say in how Graton is developed/protected etc. But you have to speak up to be a part of that voice. 


Since, I don't have a lot to write about this month, I’m going to take advantage and write about something that I feel very passionate about PLASTIC. It’s out of control. Doesn’t it seem like there is more and more of being made? I go to the grocery store and see all the environment killing packaging and it drives me mad. You can get everything in plastic; ridiculous things like rice in a plastic bowl that only takes one minute to cook. Plastic is unarguably a huge bummer not only for the environment but also for humans. 

I travel a lot for work and am in hundreds of hotels a year and every one of them uses plastic stir sticks. They come packaged with the non-dairy creamer, sweeteners, sugar and a napkin. And the packaging of course is plastic. There is never just one stir stick but at least two.  If you want any one of those items you have to open that package, use what you want, and the rest is waste to be thrown away.  The average hotel has 115 rooms with an average occupancy rate of 68%. There are approx. 52,000 hotels in the US and 187,000 in the world. That is 17.5 million rooms worldwide. So, let’s just take the US. 52,000 hotels x 155 room (average) equals 5,980,000 x .68% (occupancy average) equals 4,066,00 rooms x 4 plastic stir sticks equals 16,265,600 plastic stir sticks per DAY! WHY? 

Did you know that “Garbage Island” the floating heap of trash in the Pacific Ocean is now twice the size of Texas? Yet, we keep producing plastic, we keep buying plastic and we keep not recycling plastic. Reminds me of that one definition of insanity “when you keep doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. I don’t understand how we haven’t made further advances in packaging. I really don’t understand how it can still be legal to produce worthless knickknacks of out plastic. If you don’t understand the harm plastic is creating please google it or watch any one of the hundreds of great documentaries on it. Like all things of importance fixing this problem requires participation and effort. If this isn’t the crusade for you just letting the hotel management where you stay next know that you would prefer that they stop using plastic stir sticks is a start. I say it every time. Some staff seems to care, and most do not but at least I am saying something!  

Please let me know if there is something that you would like me to know or write about. You can reach




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