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Sonoma County Gazette
Monte Rio Musings by Chuck Ramsey

End of Summer Wrap Up

Aug 2, 2018
by Chuck Ramsey, Russian River Alliance


Summer is winding down except of course for Lazy Bear Weekend the first weekend in August and Russian River Pride the last weekend in August. Traditions are important here in the River. They define us as a community. For over 20 years Lazy Bear Weekend has been held in Guerneville. It is the River’s biggest event of the year, it has the most impact on our economy, and they have donated close to $2 million to worthy causes. All this while having a good time. Kudos toRodger Jensen from r3 Hotel for stepping up to keep Pride in the River where it belongs. This year includes a River Float on Saturday, a Parade on Sunday, and parties all weekend

The fireworks at Monte Rio beach were great as usual, and the crowds were much less than in previous years, probably due to the fact the fireworks were held on a Sunday and the actual holiday fell on a Wednesday. I, my dog, and I am sure all our doggies appreciated the reduced big bangs this year. Thanks also to the Bohemian Club for 107 years of great entertainment at the Monte Rio Variety Show.

This year has brought changes to several of my River friends and community leaders. Although change is constant, it isn’t easy on those left behind. I’d like to mention two, although there are others as well who have left our area recently. Korie Shokmalli served for several years with me on Monte Rio Rec & Park board. She has always been easy-going, warm, and friendly. She has moved to Toronto to follow her love and will be missed. Mark Emmett started Guerneville Community Alliance, is the VP of Russian River Alliance, and also served on the Russian River Fire board for many years. He owned that house high up on the hill overlooking Guerneville. Mark has worked tirelessly attending meetings representing our lower Russian River interests. His efforts resulted in change for the better, for our businesses, our residents, and our environment. I appreciate his ethics, his compassion, his inspiration, his sense of humor, and above all else his friendship. Mark has moved to Santa Rosa and it will be hard to find others to fill his shoes. Life is short and as many of us enter our golden years, we appreciate and value the friendships and contributions of others that make our lives better every day. We also find joy in seeing people making life changes that are right for them.     

In good news for West County, the newly approved Department of Health Services includes a Mobile Support Team that will run along the lower Russian River for the first time ever. This will enable mental health clinicians to come at a moment’s notice to make sure that people in crisis get the help they need. The Mobile Support Team works hand in hand with law enforcement and can facilitate 5150s and transport to our Crisis Stabilization Unit.

On the septic systems front, a community advisory group is looking into community septic systems (versus individual septic systems) for parts of Monte Rio and Villa Grande, variances for parcels that cannot obtain conventional septic systems, as well as continuing to look for sources of funding. The Board of Supervisors will next address our septic issues in October. 

Sukey Rob-Wilder asked me to publicize the Redwood Caregiver Resource Center. Redwood CRC is part of a statewide system of eleven nonprofit Caregiver Resource Centers (CRCs) offering support and assistance to caregivers of adults with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and other brain impairments, as well as to the caregivers of the frail elderly, through education, research, services and advocacy. Redwood CRC offers services at little or no cost to caregivers and families in our area. The Russian River Support Group meets the 1st Tuesdays at the Russian River Senior Center between 1-3pm. For more information contact Maisie Hak, MSW (707)542-0282 or

Our Senior Center is offering more classes and activities all the time. There are exercise classes, art classes, legal aid, walking groups, book club, creative writing, golf, computer tutoring, and even an LGBT discussion group.

The next Monte Rio Supper Club is Monday August 6th featuring Saucy Mama’s Soul Food and music by Dark Bright. BYOB and enjoy an evening with friends and neighbors.

Vacation Wonderland, we just keep getting better!


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