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Sonoma County Gazette


Mar 1, 2018
by Chuck Ramsey, Russian River Alliance


Supervisor Lynda Hopkins held a town hall meeting on 2/24 about establishing MACs (Municipal Advisory Councils). This is a work-in-progress and will be a mechanism for our lower Russian River area residents to have a form of self-governance. Hopefully, it will also allow us to have more say in where our TOT hospitality taxes are being spent.

At the moment we have some pretty basic unresolved issues such as who empties the garbage cans on Guerneville sidewalks and Monte Rio’s Park & Ride Lot. The answer currently is no one is contracted to do this. Lynda has committed to using TOT funds starting in March to handle this.

Community Problems and Solutions: Several groups are working together to address our issues. We had a meeting withSenator Mike McGuire’s office and ABC (Alcohol Beverage Control) to enforce regulations against MD Liquors permitting the consumption of alcohol on their premises.

We also are meeting with West County Health Services on finding ways to improve the healthcare of our most vulnerable residents. Permitting people to drink themselves to death, or abuse substances to death, is not compassion. Having mental illness issues not being addressed is also not compassion.

Fortunately, there is funding coming soon that will allow more social service workers to be on the street to target the people that have caused the most calls for law enforcement and first responders. The status quo does not help our tourism, our businesses, our families, or the people that need the help the most.

Another alternative that Lynda Hopkins and the Russia River Alliances are supporting is RV safe parking lots. These lots will provide safe, supervised parking for the homeless with RVs. Basics such as trash service, sanitation service, and clean water will be provided. An option has to be provided for people with no options, especially if we expect to reduce the issues we are having with RVs parked on our streets. Several of the RVs that were parked at the Forestville Park & Ride have been relocated to a safe RV park in Sebastopol.

Jeniffer Wertz has lobbied for and received grant money for a Workforce Housing Fundt o keep our struggling workers from becoming homeless. If you live and work in the lower Russian River area and are having a short=term problem making your rent payment, this program is for you. Jeniffer is also trying to make this initiative self-supporting by holding Workforce Wednesdaysdinner or drinks fundraisers the first Wednesdays of the month at Timberline Restaurant. Folks can also donate to the cause on-line. Andorno’s Pizza also donates 10% of profits Monday nights to the fund.

Sonoma County Pride is moving out of the River and will be held in Santa Rosa this year for the first time in 9 years. Reasons given for the move is attendance was down last year and we have less parking and lodging available here. It is unfortunate that the River, with its high LGBT population, and our LGBT businesses will lose this event. Fortunately, we will still have Lazy Bear.

Creekside Park Café: Aron Parks fromCafé Aquatica has taken over the café at Creekside Park, as Leah from Cutty Muggshas moved out of state. This is Aron’s third café as he took over ownership of Ninja Star Café in Sebastopol last year. The café is open every day 8am-3pm and has a very good selection of vegan and gluten-free items. I recommend the avocado toast. They hope to have live music on weekends in the future.

Friends of Monte Rio will host the next Supper Club Monday, March 5 with chef: A la Heart Catering, and music: Odd Job Ensemble.

Curtain Call Theatreis proud to debut the West Coast Premiere of The Language of Flowers, by celebrated playwright, Gavin Kayner. Opening night performance is March 2.

Something new and exciting is coming to our local airwaves! Wonderland Radio Hour is a quarterly series of programs featuring stories about the people, places and history of our lower Russian River communities. Each hour will showcase musicians, artists, writers and characters from our area. Community input and participation is welcomed. Following each live performance at the Rio Theater the program will be broadcast on our local NPR station, KRCB 91.1FM Sundays at 4pm. First show will be Saturday, May 19. Congrats to Rhian Miller, Paul Dubray and Alain Lecloux!

Vacation Wonderland. We just keep getting better.


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