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Sonoma County Gazette

Gazette Readers Respond to Articles and issues

Aug 1, 2017


It would be very nice if you would ask your readers to help me find information and photos of my relatives. I know that Walter Otto Schueler, grandson of Heinrich Brandes (Heinrich Friedrich Theodor Brandes, born Apr.4. 1849 in Peine/Germany and he is my great grandfather), is placed in Rose Garden in Pleasant Hills Memorial Park in Sebastopol.

Walter´s mother Martha Schueler, born Brandes, died in 1956 in her home in Los Altos and his aunt Bertha Lippelt, born Brandes, died in New York. I´m looking for an orbituary of Walter (he died on Nov. 12.1987) to find members of his family. I want to contact them because I´m interested in photos of Walter’s, his mother, Martha, and his aunt, Bertha.

If any citizens of Sonoma can give me any information about the life or the family of Walter Otto Schueler, please contact me at :

Dr. Hans-Joerg Fehst
Lehnhast 28   31542
Bad Nenndorf/Germany

Safe Parking

My name is Bob and I’m currently a client of the safe parking program and have been asked to tell some aspects of my story for an article you’re writing.

I’ve been homeless since 6-15-2016 and partly because of the help I’ve received from Catholic Charities, will likely be celebrating Christmas in my own place this year. A huge part of the help I’ve received has been the benefits of the safe parking program which apparently are not fully recognized by some of the people at Catholic Charities.

Living in a car is frightening and dangerous. We all have to sleep at night and aren’t welcome anywhere. We can’t sleep on residential streets, are chased out of commercial parking lots, and have the constant fear of violence because of our vulnerability.

As a result simply having the energy to hold a job and do the work required to maintain a life and hopefully regain a home becomes even more difficult.

Living in a car is also a solitary life. There is little socialization and sharing of information important to homeless people such as where to get food, jobs, clothes, or showers. Safe parking solves these problems. We can sleep without fear, we don’t urinate and defecate in public, and we help each other with companionship and the daily issues of being homeless.

It’s ironic that Catholic Charities is adopting a ‘housing first’ strategy for reducing homelessness. Safe parking effectively provides a home for many at a cost much less than putting people in shelters or group homes. We’re also available for the services being offered to residents of the Sam Jones shelter. Residents of Sam Jones are required to meet with case managers and attempt to develop a budget and a plan to become housed.

I’ve never understood why clients of safe parking don’t have similar requirements and there hasn’t been any attempt to help us. We should be required to at least attempt to get back on our feet in exchange for using the safe parking program.

Suddenly cancelling the program for most of us is cruel. The initial 5-day notice to get lost violates the promise from Catholic Charities that we be treated with respect and the subsequent 2+ week notice isn’t much better. Most of us don’t have anywhere else to go and will become public nuisances. We’ll be parking on public streets and in parking lots all over Santa Rosa.

Housing opportunities being offered by Catholic Charities are nominal. With the current effort of empty homeless encampments and get at risk people off the streets, there is already a long waiting list for shelter beds. Those of us in safe parking will likely get no significant assistance once the program is reduced.

This is about all I have to say without repeating the same stories you’ve heard from others.


SAFE Nights Parking Lost Funding

I completely understand that terror that finding a place to be when you have already lost so much can make you sleepless but there is another group of us out here laboring to find appropriate vehicles that meet our needs disabled and otherwise, laboring yes but also wanting to move upwards towards being able to join this apparently dissolving community for the very considerations expressed quite well in this article. To both be in and out of a society at our choosing should be a freedom all of us are allowed to share. As to what comes next for all of us within and without...I am at a complete loss to say as are so very many across this country. This train of ours once headed for places so sweetly serene for anyone who applied themselves is sadly coming off the rails and there is a madman at the controls.

Marcos Zapatero


I am grateful to you for publishing the summaries of  the Grand Jury Report - it was an interesting read and concise enough for those who don’t want to wade through the entire printing.  Also,  the columns “The Family Pet”. “A Guide to the Night Sky” and the yummy recipe and informative article by Ron Skarr. were appealing as usual.

But I have to disagree with your newest contributor, Attorney Christopher Kerosky, who compares today’s immigrant status to what it was for his parents.  Our immigrant stock came across the ocean, seeking not only a better life, but a refuge from their lack of freedom.  America was becoming an industrialized nation and needed labor.  They all worked; hence the child labor laws.  They did live in enclaves of like nationalities, but they assimilated.  They eventually learned the language and felt fortunate to be Americans and adopt our laws, principles and to pledge allegiance to our flag, as did his grandparents and mine.

But many of today’s immigrants do not cross an ocean, but borders, they do not assimilate, many do not think of themselves as Americans, nor do they appreciate our principles, generosity or pledge allegiance to our flag.  We have made it easy for them not to learn English; businesses cater to them (an economic reality) with all sorts of signs written in Spanish.  Even when one phones businesses or medical facilities. one is asked Spanish or English.  We even celebrate their holidays and festivals.

Most of the immigrants are uneducated and willing to do the most menial tasks and so are filling most of the entry-level jobs.  It is true that our so-called “entitled youth” would not care to fill these jobs.  They have been told that everyone need s a college degree. Some colleges have not met this obligation, but have become places of gender identity, fermenting anti-American sentiment, not allowing the natural flow of ideas and shutting down those who disagree.  Our society needs skilled mechanics to keep us moving, not more degrees in exotic studies.  The Junior Colleges do offer career fulfilling careers in a short span of enrollment for a nominal tuition, but those entry-level jobs were preparation for young people to learn job skills.

Here in California, where anti-Trump anything is abhorrent, we have created a climate of accepting any behavior, ignoring the law and causing more turmoil.  Demographics indicate that within a few years Hispanics will be the dominate race.  Their own governance has not been one to envy.  I am sure Mr. Kerosky is sincere in wanting to help this population, but immigration law is also lucrative.  I also noticed in your Column “ Barrister Bits” that a free immigration law clinic is held weekly but it is specialized since immigration law is so complex.

I am not a Donald Trump fan but feel much misinformation is given as to what he proposes.  Something has to be done to address the  problem of too many illegals. or to use the politically correct euphemism “undocumented workers.” But many are not workers -our schools and medical facilities are overwhelmed.

Thank you for letting me vent.

Barbara Cuneo


Thank you for sharing your opinions on my piece in July’s Gazette. But I must say I disagree with your views about immigration to the U.S. and its relationship to current problems in our society. Studies have shown that immigrants today are more educated, more likely to speak English, less likely to get welfare or commit crimes and in general more assimilated than prior periods of immigration in our history. I invite you to read my future columns which will address these issues, providing more details and sources for these research findings. Immigration is an important and complex topic and we all benefit from this exchange of views.

Best wishes,


 I read with great interest Christopher Kerosky’s piece about immigrants.

It piggy backed on a recent article in Nation magazine about the grandmother of Jared Kushner, who is, of course, the husband of Ivana Trump and the obsequious, shameless lackey of #45.

Jared’s grandmother spent 6 years living in refugee camps in Italy and England before she was able to come to America. The reason for the delay, of course, was discrimination and race hatred. She was a Jew.   

The irony is beyond obvious and painful.

My questions are:

1. Is there anyone, except native Americans, who isn’t the descendant of immigrants, including #45? Mine were Italian and Irish – definite bottom-of-the barrel immigrants for a generation or two. What were yours?

2.  How can Jarod Kushner deny, indeed scorn, his heritage? How can any of us, president or not, deny the heritage of our entire nation?

Just asking the obvious questions.

Paula Downing


The Immigrant Story in America Today – Part 1

Well done article! As a result, I have subscribed to the paper and look forward to next column...

Bruce Spikell


What a Waste?

We have all watched as the former “Here are my comments on an opinion piece by Ann Maurice in the July issue. I hope you will deem it worthy of publication.

Why do some people find is necessary to demonize their neighbors?

Ann Maurice (letters, July) is certain that residents of Occidental are “wrapped in moral bankruptcy” while “acting like a selfish prima donna.” Apparently this is because they are looking at a potential solution to their sewage problems that Ms. Maurice disapproves of. Can you imagine a schoolteacher, her landscaper husband, and their toddlers secretly meeting with their next door neighbor, perhaps a fireman and a midwife? Do we hear furtive whispers as they secretly pursue their “nefarious, hidden, political agenda?” According to Ms. Maurice, no one in Occidental could be accused of engaging in “reasonableness, fairness, and common courtesy.”

Oh come on!  Do we really believe that people in Occidental wake up every morning prepared to hatch a secret plot to foist their problems on their friends and neighbors? Is it possible that folks who live in Occidental are just as sincere and good-hearted as those who live in Graton, Camp Meeker, and even Cloverdale? Perhaps they are just trying to get on with their lives’ like most of us. It’s not their individual responsibility to solve the sewage problem for the whole community. They, like the rest of us, are probably hoping that the professionals, whose job it is to solve issues like this, will propose a win-win.

Any construction of an on-site treatment plant is years down the road. Until that happens, would Ms. Maurice prefer that Occidental resident allow their sewage to seep into Dutch Bill Creek, and eventually the Russian River? How is that a better solution than trucking the waste to the County treatment plant?

My point, though, it not about which solution is the best. I am just getting so tired of activists demonizing those who do not hold the same opinion as them. Or, in this case, first assuming the intentions and opinions of people they have never met, and then demonizing them. I’d ask Ann Maurice: Where is your reasonableness, fairness, and common courtesy?

Mark Burchill, Santa Rosa


Delegate to “Experts”?  CAUTION Advised!

Is it our individual responsibility to solve problems for the whole community? You betcha! Four years ago, four Occidental neighbors thought so, AND WE DID IT! We are not “activists” or “politicos”, just folks wise enough to know that you cannot leave life’s problems to so-called “experts”!

Sadly, wastewater disposal in Occidental has been an odious imposition on a family who is NOT served by the Occidental Wastewater Service District. And, most of the townspeople have enjoyed the privilege of paying absolutely no attention to the crime!

For DECADES, Occidental’s treated wastewater has been dumped on unwilling persons, on their private property and into Dutch Bill Creek in violation of the rules for health and environmental safety.

The system is a disgrace and an embarrassment to decent people of this County. Where does Occidental’s wastewater go? Into Dutch Bill Creek onto people under threat of lengthy lawsuit and capture of their land if they try to disallow the dumping. See a particularly horrific article in the Press Democrat during Supervisor Reilly’s reign when the family was threatened with prosecution to the fullest extent of the law if they did not sign immediately a contract with the County Water Agency!

The “experts” were in charge all right! But at some point, we have to take responsibility for the chaos in our own backyard lest someone accuse us of moral turpitude, moral laxity, or simply put, not giving a damn about other people and acting like demanding, manipulating, entitled prima donnas unwilling to clean up the messes we ourselves create, and leaving the job to Nero, who fiddles while Rome burns!

Four years ago, we found an engineering upgrade that is affordable and practical. The engineers said the plant could have already been built IN OCCIDENTAL. BADABOOM, BADABING DONE! Instead, our local “experts” danced to a different drummer and most townspeople had “better” things to do. So now, to avoid hefty fines, the Sonoma County Water Agency will truck Occidental’s raw sewage around West County to a sewage plant miles away. A good idea? You should have heard the hollers and screams from

Guerneville area residents who faced a future of raw sewage in tankers

rumbling past their homes to dump the waste at a “lift station” in their residential neighborhood! How many Occidental residents bothered to come to that meeting to hear the cries of their Guerneville neighbors? Hardly any! How many bother themselves even now to be sure that the illegal disposal in Dutch Bill Creek and “expert” condemnation of land will be stopped? Hardly any!

Time for us to follow the simple rules of “civilized” behavior: 

Love Thy Neighbor

Do Unto Others

Clean up After Yourself

and Be Considerate.

Who is that so-called “expert” behind the curtain anyway? Toto showed that he was a fraud, a humbug, a fake. Dorothy had to find her own way and be responsible and accountable for her own destiny. So must we!

Ann Maurice
Ad Hoc Committee for Clean Water

SMART Train is Ready to Roll with Passenger Schedule

I took the third run on the first day of the Preview Rides Thursday, June 29. I must say the staff is more than accommodating and the ride was jam-packed with friendly riders. If the train system isn’t simply moving people from location to location, it is certainly building community. When approaching Petaluma, take a look at a metal artist’s studio to the west side of the train. There are 3 cranes on site with metal works as tall as 30 feet. Anyone know who this is? Have fun on the train and I wish you a seat with delightful, talkative people at the chairs with the tables. Therapets only, so my pug could not make friends that day.

Brian Burke

His name is Kevin Clarke. His sculpture caught my eye when I was in Petaluma to ride SMART. The two lions facing the adjacent parking lot are amazing. Michelle, Kevin’s partner, invited me in to take a look around. They are preparing for this years Burning man with a tower of metal flowers that shoots flames into the towers. Here’s a Facebook post of an event coming up July 15t: Summer of Love Flower Tower Party - 6:30 PM - 12 AM on the property at Reared In Steel, 110 Copeland St, Petaluma. It’s a benefit to raise money to complete this sculpture in time for this year’s Burning Man. ~ Vesta


SMART Train FREE Rides in July

Good information and I hope to do a trial run sometime this month to see what the train is all about. How long until it makes it to Larkspur ferry?

Lydia Villescas


On June 21 we posted an update on the contract awarded: sonoma-county-news/smart-train-will-build-link-to-larkspur-ferry) The Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) has awarded the contract to build the Larkspur Extension and is expected to be completed in early 2019. The $36.3 million contract includes construction of the 2.2 mile extension, the center platform station, two new bridges, rebuilding a trestle, and interim improvements to the Bettini Transit Center in downtown San Rafael. Construction on the extension will begin later this summer and is expected to be completed in early 2019.


SMART Train Link to Larkspur Ferry

I’ve been waiting so long for this wonderful train. Let’s hope it helps alleviate the traffic!

Leigh McCutcheon

Plastic Free July - Recycling starts at home

It’s sad how many people don’t make any effort at all.

Donna Roses

Monte Rio Beach Closed due to Bacterial Testing Results - now OPEN Again

I  liked the straight forward, scientific presentation of this article. Not only is this a great Public Health Service, it allows people to make informed decisions about recreation activities.

James Shubin

There’s a lot to know. Back in 2015 the State recommended upgrading all the septic systems along the river - all rivers, to keep effluent from seeping into the water. Problem is funding. Many people live in what were vacation homes and they have not been upgraded over the years. For many, this is their only home, paid for, and they are on limited incomes. Once the state makes the upgrades mandatory, there will need to be funding in place to help those who qualify. Stay tuned - it will happen and probably sooner rather than later since pathogen levels have such an impact on the river’s health, and therefore people and animals. ~ Vesta

Bark in the Park Dog -  Parks in Sonoma County

My two black pugs don’t make it long during operating hours at most parks because of a lack of shade. Glen Ellen’s has good tree shade and the gazebo is an excellent touch. Anyone know of any shade coverage along the Russian River? The River Bend Resort (next to Russian River Pub) has a $5 dog fee plus the parking fee. It’s a good place for Spot to run, swim and play ball with other dogs. Leashes seem optional but don’t quote me on that. Shade doesn’t set in until about 5pm.

Brian Burke

Night Sky - July

Great article about the total eclipse. Looking forward to seeing it since you made it even more exciting! Love your paper and online. Sure be great to win free tickets also to the Accordian Festival. Keep up the good work!

Rod Dean

Making Dollars and Sense in Guerneville - River Community Advocates

I’m very impressed with the solution oriented work that has been done by the Guerneville Community Alliance. These articles, the social media presence and meetings organized by them both with the public and especially the merchants has not only impacted how the county thinks about the problem, it caused the County and the CDC to abandon any project. This is a huge accomplishment and after two years of nothing getting done it is very welcome. The next step is to understand why the merchants don’t use the chamber? No one should fear retaliation by anyone. We’re all in this together. The chamber of commerce is there for the merchants and the community. The message sent by the community to county applies to the chamber too. Change course. Listen to your members. No one person speaks for this community. It's time for new leadership and to mend fences with the merchants. A lot of change will happen if our community works together.

Bob Young

OPINION: The Right to Die - End of Life Option by Susan UpChurch

As a hospice nurse, I really appreciated your beautifully written column, pointing out the difficulties our patients still face in accessing the Aid in Dying. As a friend and DPOA, who wanted to honor your friend’s wishes, it must have been painful and frustrating to watch your dying friend, not only in pain but let down by an unfulfilled promise. I am sharing your story at a conference for nurses on “AID one year later” in August. We need to make the process simpler and more supportive for patients and their loved ones.

Hanne Jensen

Jenner Jottings – July 2017

When I saw that bundle of kelp on the picture with the seals it made my heart leap until I thought that must be an old picture. Tell me it isn’t so. From what I’ve heard the bulb kelp is decimated. Let’s make a market for those voracious little tiny purple urchins scouring the rocks for any bit to eat.

Marc Hunt

Bike Carefully!

Watch when walking in Sonoma!!

My husband and I are both Seniors and thankfully, walk a lot!

It has occurred to us both recently that kids on bikes/on sidewalks are something we walkers need to keep a VERY careful eye on.

Twice, this past week, in the area of Andrieux and 1st St W.and Second St.West, kids coming along at face pace around a blind corner and almost knocked us down! A close call and VERY concerning!

I can understand parents wanting their children to be safe by not always riding in the street, but this is really something we need to be very cautious about.

Kids too, need to be briefed by their parents on this issue and they too, VERY careful.

Please, when walking, keep a sharp eye out around those blind corners

A concerned walker in W. area.

Joy Bennett

Raw Milk

I thought I’d write a few words on raw milk situation. We are blessed to have access to some of the most amazing artisan-made foods here, in Sonoma County. One thing that puzzles me is why, while most of the county (as well as Marin, as even Lake Tahoe area) have access to raw milk, you cannot buy it in the town of Sonoma. Raw milk is a far better quality product than its pasteurized counterparts. It is considered a potent medicine, according to Ayurveda. Pasteurization kills the good stuff and causes lactose intolerance. I believe people still need to be educated about the raw milk. Many folks assume that if you want to consume it raw, you have to drink it out of the bottle. That’s not the case. Raw milk can and should (to make it more digestible) be heated just up to the boiling point, when it starts to froth, then cooled and drank safely. Boiling milk on low heat does not equal pasteurization!

In Europe, raw milk has always been sold at farmers markets. Often, there would be a dozen or two of dairy vendors, all selling fresh organic raw products from their family farms.

It would be wonderful to see raw milk sold at Sonoma County farmers markets! Sold on a small local scale and boiled lightly before consumption, it would be a perfectly safe and healthy product. I think most people either forgot - or never knew the taste of real raw milk. It’s divine.

Lana Pereyaslavska


Thank you for writing to the Gazette. I remember hearing from you once before -- hello again, Lana!

My son couldn’t handle regular milk as a baby so we gave him raw, which was available even in supermarkets here, as I recall. It was produced by Alta Dena. As I recall, they had a problem with spoiled or contaminated milk later on, and maybe some regulations were introduced. Anyway, it became less available.

No one ever said anything about lightly boiling it first!

You could ask Whole Foods to stock it, but now that it is owned by Amazon, or soon will be, and Sonoma Market by Nugget, bothseems less like friendly neighborhood markets. If you want to ask the Farmer’s Mkt, I’m sure one of the farmers can tell you whom you should contact. Maybe I’ll write about it this week! Wouldn’t there be a problem keeping it cold enoughat the market? I wonder about the meat too, but it’s frozen I think.

Stephanie Hiller


Hello again, Stephanie,

Nice to hear from you!

You are right, I think now that Amazon bought Whole Foods, things may change. Sonoma Market used to sell raw milk, but they stopped about 6 months ago and I could not find out, why. After trying (and deciding against) several brands of pasteurized milk available in Sonoma, I started driving to Santa Rosa - which is about 50 miles per round trip, when you think about it, a little excessive, just to get some milk!

I studied Ayurveda for many years. It recommends heating raw milk just to the boiling point, which makes it safe to drink, as well as more digestible. It still has great un-pasteurized taste and retains its health benefits.

With the current movement towards small scale local farming, more farmers might be interested in selling raw milk directly to people (instead of selling it to large processing facilities where it gets pasteurized into oblivion). Raw milk sourced on smaller scale should be quite safe. Both gentle boiling and, as an alternative, fermentation into yogurt or kefir are supposed to take care of unwanted bacteria.



I would like to take this opportunity thank you for advertising our free classes in theSonoma County Gazette! The Older Adults Program at the Santa Rosa Junior College has been offering free noncredit courses throughout the county since 1968 due to the support and willingness of facilities to host our classes.

We are so very grateful for your help in getting the word out to the community. We are currently working hard to expand our free courses which are tailored to older adults as part of its lifelong learning program. The courses provide an opportunity for personal growth and development, group interaction, mental stimulation and physical activity. Our courses are held at senior centers, retirement communities, community centers and residential facilities. There are no fees for Older Adults Programcourses.

You Rock!

With appreciation,

Skippy’s Lodge

We have all watched as the former “Skippy’s,” at 11190 McPeak Road, deteriorated beyond repair in hazadous neglect with the promise of improvement ahead.The result is the complete demolition of this piece of river history. Now the plans and permits are in process, and the clearing has begun. It has come to light that the two stands each with three redwoods trees adjacent to the property and structure have been marked for removal in the name of progress unless we speak up.

These trees survived the clear cut of 150 years ago because they were too small. Now 200 feet and glorious their removal will not change the road or structure intended. Maybe we should consider these trees since they were here way before us, and will be here long after we are gone maybe.Responsible stewardship over profits come to mind here for me.

The new owner, a real estate developer from out of the area is looking to maximize his investment. He is building his business not his home. The county building department is interested in the ongoing tax revenues, and is full of fresh new faces as the seasoned professional staff quit en masse last season. Moving right along.

They need our help to see the way clearly what is in fact the best direction for the long term quality of life in our rural neighborhood. If you like the forest part of Forestville give them a call. I think they want to do the right thing, and with our encouragement they will.

Permit Resource Management Department   PRMD   707-565-1900
Cornerstone Realty and Finance Co.
Henry Valderrama 510-557-0736 cell
925-689-8808 office

Loving West County for over three decades, Lee Leibrock

Summer is in the air and Santa Rosa has been abuzz with activity. The square is unified, the SMART train is nearing completion, and if you haven’t yet checked out the new Wednesday Night Market, you’re missing out!

We have also been busy taking positive steps towards dealing with our City’s most pressing issues - we have realigned dollars and services to build more affordable housing, we are implementing a housing first strategy to address homelessness, and we are rethinking how we use dangerous chemicals in our community. It has been an incredibly busy time around city hall!

But even with so much going on, there is not a day that goes by that I don’t hear from a neighbor that they want to do more - and have no idea where to start.

So this fall, I’m partnering with theSanta Rosa Junior College to teach Tools for Political Engagement. This six-week seminar will look at the political process through two lenses: policy development and advocacy, and elections. Whether it’s getting engaged on an issue or running for local office, our goal is to help community members identify their first step.

Better still, all proceeds from this class will go towards helping SRJC’s homeless student population.

This community has so many passionate people who are looking for ways to make a difference. I hope you’ll join us as we work to build a more livable Santa Rosa.

Warmest regards,
Chris Rogers


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